Winning (What It Takes)

If you play a game with numerous opponents and you keep losing those games, in my honest opinion you are a loser at that point in time. But just because you keep losing now, it does not mean you can’t adapt your game, get better, and keep improving until you can firmly hold your ground against the competition.

I was watching Ryoyu Kobayashi’s jumps leading up to when he made history as the first person to break the existing world record for the longest ski jump. The previous record was 253.5 metres set by Stefan Kraft way back in 2017. Kobayashi didn’t just show up one day and shatter that record on his first try. He failed over and over, jump after jump, until finally nailing that monstrous 291 metre jump.

His story perfectly illustrates the point I’m trying to make – it’s completely okay, even necessary, to fail repeatedly. But after each failure, you absolutely must analyze what went wrong, what you did incorrectly, and adjust your techniques and strategies. With that revised gameplay, your odds of success increase for the next attempt.

The harsh reality is most people have this fundamentally flawed misconception that we’re all supposed to get things pitch perfect right on the very first try. No, fuck that outdated way of thinking. Sometimes, oftentimes for the most difficult feats, to become a winner you first must trudge through the shit and learn all the techniques and approaches that definitely won’t bring you the results you want. It’s a process of elimination.

I was listening to David Goggins get interviewed on the Huberman Lab podcast recently. That man is a goddamn savage, he said before he became the winner and seemingly superhuman individual that he is now, first he had to learn how to intentionally fail at things. Yeah, you read that right – he’d purposely put himself in situations where he was basically guaranteed to fail miserably. And after learning how to take those brutal losses over and over again for an extended period, eventually he started getting small wins here and there. And as he reviewed what led to those small wins, he amplified those tactics which slowly turned the tides until his wins became larger and more frequent.

So to anyone out there who keeps losing over and over in whatever game or pursuit you’re engaged in, hear me out. Just because you are getting demolished and losing repeatedly right now, that absolutely does not mean you are cursed to always be a loser forever. Losing initially is normal and okay. What separates the true winners from the perpetual losers is having the self-awareness to honestly identify that yes, you currently suck at this thing. Once you can humbly admit and accept that, then you can start the real work of closely examining the specific areas where you are underperforming. From that analysis, you can make the necessary adjustments to your approach, and get back on that horse and try again incorporating what you learned. You may still eat shit several more times, but if you stubbornly persist through those initial failures while constantly improving your game, over time those losses will inevitably turn into hard-fought wins.

Written by

Zibele Gcingca