#1772 Losing Is EXCITING!

When You Do It Right

In our last +1, we chatted about Emerson’s sub-optimal performance at a recent chess tournament and how he MADE THE CONNECTION between some off-the-menu food choices and his inability to play at his highest levels.

As you may recall, Emerson lost to a kid whose rating was 500 points lower than his—which, of course, can (and will!) happen but really shouldn’t happen.

He wound up going 1-2-1 for the day—winning one game, losing two and drawing one.

It was, as we discussed, one of his poorest performances to date.

To which we both said…


Win or learn, baby!!!

We went through our quick 1-2-3 process, celebrating what was awesome, identifying what needed work, and deciding what, SPECIFICALLY, we will do next time as we fully squeezed all the win-or-learn juice out of the poor performance.

We learned THREE things (making the unofficial day’s tally FOUR (learning-)wins and ZERO losses!)…

1. As discussed, don’t go off menu the day before a tournament—do it the day AFTER a tournament—which is what we’d ALWAYS done before.

2. Get to the event 30 minutes early—we were also running way too close to the start time and couldn’t dominate our normal pre-match protocol!

3. Exercise more! He hadn’t been exercising much the prior several days. (He decided he will, specifically, ride his bike around the trail every hour—5 times during the day.)


Now would be a good time to remind ourselves of some wisdom from Chess Grandmaster Maurice Ashley’s great book Move by Move in which he tells us…

“No one likes to lose. Yet how we handle our losses is one of the most powerful measures of our eventual success. Those who react badly after a loss, who pout, kick, scream, and throw things, generally get no benefit from the experience. The great champions often look at losing as a way to gain precious competitive insights so they can raise their game to new levels. Losing, much more so than winning, can be a catapult launching your game to new heights.”

He continues by saying: “The late, great Kobe Bryant was once asked, ‘What does losing feel like to you?’ His reply:It’s exciting . . . because it means you have different ways to get better. There’s certain weaknesses that were exposed that you need to shore up. . . . It sucks to lose, but at the same time the answers are there if you just look at them.’”


It sucks…


With the right mindset, it’s EXCITING!

Today’s +1.

Think about a recent sub-optimal performance you experienced.


It’s painful to bring it to mind.


We need to embrace reality in order to improve it.

We want to squeeze all the wisdom juice out of the experience then THROW IT AWAY.


Let’s 1-2-3 it.

1. What’s one AWESOME thing about your poor experience?

It could be one aspect of the event that you nailed or, worst case, that at least you WENT for it.

2. What’s one thing you KNOW you could have done better?

This is where that painful part of your performance comes in and/or the cause of that poor performance.

3. What’s ONE, SPECIFIC thing you can and WILL do differently next time to give yourself the best shot at going next level?

Get SPECIFIC here!

For us, it wasn’t “Arrive at the tournament earlier.” It was “Arrive 30 minutes before the first game.” It wasn’t “Exercise more.” It was “Ride my bike for a loop every hour and do at least 5 loops during the day.”

I repeat…

Losing sucks.


If we do it right, it’s EXCITING!!

Let’s do it right.


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