My son is 5 and my daughter is 2. Sometimes they compete against each other in little races around the house. My son always wins because he’s bigger. When he crosses the imaginary finish line, he throws his hands up and yells, “I WON!” Then when my daughter glides across the finish line she throws her hands up with equal enthusiasm and yells “I losed!”
She doesn’t know that losing is a bad thing. For her, it’s just as exciting. The first few times she did it I wanted to correct her, “Winning is better.” “No. Don’t be happy that you lost, you want to win.” But I stopped myself. I couldn’t bring myself to do it because I’ve lost enough in my life to know that losing isn’t all bad.
I think back on some things I’ve lost only to realize later the reason I lost it was because it wasn’t meant to be. Losing has helped me clarify what I truly wanted.
I’ve lost things only to realize that if I hadn’t lost that thing I wouldn’t have had the space for something better to come along. Losing has given me insights I wouldn’t have had otherwise. Space I wouldn’t have created for myself.
I wonder about all the time I wasted mourning what I thought I lost. Worried about what I missed. Unhappy about failing at this or that. Only to have a lightbulb moment later, provided by the clarity that only that loss could’ve provided.
Losing it turns out is sort of magical but the magic of losing is concealed in this idea that it’s bad. Failure is bad. Redirecting is bad. Changing is bad. Closing is bad. Quitting is bad. Losing is bad. What if, instead, we all took my daughter’s approach and celebrated our loses with equal joy and enthusiasm because although the reward isn’t immediately apparent it is there and will appear.