Losing: Super Failure or Super Victory?
This Sunday, millions of people across the nation will come together to experience a single event: The Super Bowl. While this year’s edition will set the Baltimore Ravens against the San Francisco 49ers, it will also set two brothers, Jim Harbaugh and John Harbaugh, against each other as head coach. As countless football fans eagerly await kickoff, they cannot wait to determine which Harbaugh brother will come out on top, and more importantly, which will fall flat on his face. Generating millions of hours and dollars of investment, Super Bowl XLVII will have all eyes fixated on its victor and its loser.
No matter it be the Grand Championship of football or just an intermural game of soccer, we have become obsessed with the idea of the exaltation of winning and the humiliation of defeat. As victory is held in such high esteem, losing is considered to be the epitome of personal failure. As dishonor, failure, and losing are becoming synonymous in our culture, we begin to avoid failure at all costs. But why do we consider failure to be such a terrible experience?
The main source of failure as foul goes back to our experiences in an earlier time. In school, we are constantly reinforced that if we fail, we cannot move on. If we pass, we get to go to the next level. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Life is NOT a classroom. From this perspective, many people believe the entire purpose of life is to get through it by ‘just passing’. Is getting a D in life really considered to be an achievement? Don’t we owe it to ourselves, on a spiritual, mental, and emotional level to do better? I think so.
Failure represents our greatest opportunity to move forward. As failure is only determined by our own personal self-dissatisfaction, we can change our subjective experience of failure itself. In life, we are not given just one opportunity, but an infinite amount of opportunities to learn about what we think, what we do, and what we are. When we lose, we are given the incredible opportunity to objectively observe, understand, and experience the results of our previous thoughts, beliefs, and actions. As in the Core Concepts, “There is no Such Thing as Right or Wrong. There is only What Works, and What Does Not Work, given what it is that you are trying to do.” Through our ‘failures’ to produce the outcome we desired, our ‘losses’ can directly show us what we need to change in our lives to manifest these outcomes. As we evaluate our own personal failures, we easily perceive What Does Not Work in our performance, our behavior, and our belief. By understanding the effect of our current erroneous beliefs, we can decide to change these beliefs. All we need to do is to consciously apply this new sense of self that will create What Works. When we apply this towards ALL our perceived failures in life, we do truly win.
As even the football giant, Coach Vince Lombardi, once said, “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied ourselves best to the task at hand.” Certainly, our own personal successes, whether it be in the spiritual field or the football field, are driven by our ability to continuously redefine the very definition of Who We Truly Are. If we apply ourselves, our highest selves, to every situation and every scenario, victory, or rather, personal growth and accomplishment, occurs at every level and every plane. So in regards to the Super Bowl XLVII, one Harbaugh will experience his failure. But, he will also be able to experience what he can change to redefine his team and himself for victory in years to come. And that is truly more valuable than any Super Bowl Ring.
(Lauren is a Feature Editor of The Global Conversation. She lives in Wood Dale, IL, and can be reached at Lauren@TheGlobalConversation.com)