I’m a curious practitioner and researcher, with a heart for those who must go through difficult circumstances. I have spent some time listening to people who have lost in either competitions, job applications, electoral processes or challenges of all sorts, and there are 5 lessons that I have synthesized from hundreds of conversations about winning, from those who lost:

  1. Every champion was once a contender who refused to give up. Even the biggest champions have lost in their journey to winning. A loss is a mental step up on the winning ladder.
  2. Do not overreact, assimilate. It is important to fully understand defeat and loss in life. It’s disappointing, and even sad, but it’s not the end. The end of a chapter announces the beginning of a new one. Win or lose, there is a need to embrace the moment, with the appropriate level of emotion, but never in excess either way. Great champions love victory and hate defeat, like any of us, but always take time to assess and assimilate the process that took them there.
  3. Take responsibility. There is plenty of opportunity to place blame before a loss: my support system, my coaches, my peers, the places I go… It is natural for beginners to do that, but not for veterans. As life goes on, we realize that we must assume full responsibility for the outcomes of our work. This takes practice, but once is mastered, it will take you to a lot more wins.
  4. Use a Six Sigma-like approach to correct and improve the gaps in your game. Learn to systematically analyze your performance, your process, your rehearsals, your attitude. Everything counts. There are things that the winner did that you didn’t. Maybe she had more allies than you. Maybe she didn’t dwell on bad days as much as you did. Maybe she managed her time better than you. Six Sigma is just an example of a tool that helps organizations eliminate “defects” in a process, seeking to improve quality in a dramatic way. Winning takes a lot of systematic analysis of “defects” in your process, sometime little details that bring a few more votes or a slightly more favorable candidate profile. To win, every little counts.
  5. If you learn when you lose, you’ll learn how to win. You can’t take defeat as anything else but a lesson in life. Either you win, or you learn and move on to your next chance to win.

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#BeWise and remember that champions never lose. Either they win or they learn.

Originally published at medium.com