Everyone has their eyes on the trophy. It seems that winning is the most important thing. Losing is mostly frowned upon. For many people, winning is all that matters. Individuals compete, not only for the challenges that come along the process but of the glory at the end. Often times, winning comes with money, fame, honor, and joy. Is it possible to experience fulfillment, positive recognition, appreciation, and most especially happiness in losing? It might be difficult to imagine how losing can be as good as winning. But that is the point, it is just difficult to conceive but it is not impossible. Participating – whether losing or winning is more important that triumph itself.
Firstly, why is winning more often considered important than being disqualified or defeated? Winning is synonymous to being the best. It means that the person either naturally has a talent for the skills being put to competition or that he has mastered it most than any of the other competitors. By practice or by talent, the person rises above everyone else, and mostly being set apart from everyone else is something that humans want. Man wants recognition in a positive way. He likes being unique. And by unique, he does not mean being weird unlike everyone else but having the best quality of that common thing that the people already have. He likes to be seen. He likes to be validated. He wants to be noticed. But it is just not any kind of acknowledgement. It is about his good characteristics being credited and his bad ones being overlooked. Man wants people to look up to him but not to look down or look away. That is why winning is highly valued by most people, if not everybody.
People go to school. People attain education. People go to practice, take lessons, read, study up, etc in order to better themselves. And winning is like putting a conclusion or verifying that he has done well with all his efforts. So how could something other than winning so important? How can mere participation to something and not coming out as a victor good enough? One reason is that, joining a contest without the assurance of winning is a way of harnessing one’s skills and knowing where one’s mastery stands. It is like being rated, and learning from the participation what could be improved and what should be avoided. Participating is training. Another reason is that it is being brave. Competing without the promise of victory is being courageous about facing the consequences. It shows that one is not afraid of losing, or is not concerned about the opinions of others. He is there to test himself for the skills and not for the pride. It means that he has a strong sense of his self image, that whether losing or winning does not affect how he would feel or think about himself. It means that he does not take the contest personally but he perceives it as the skill being harnessed and not as an integrated part of other fractions of himself like likeability, his happiness, his life, etc.
Before winners win, they also once were mere participants. Participating teaches, and learning is very important that is why participating itself is more important than focusing on winning alone.