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Is Defeat a Better Teacher than Victory?

posted Feb 2, 2015, 5:47 PM by Etaasha Jain

People may say that one can learn a lot by winning. While this can be true, defeat is a better teacher than victory.

When one wins, the winner only focuses on how good he or she was. Although the victor knows in the back of his or her mind that there are some things that could be improved, he or she chooses to ignore those things. On the other hand, the loser would focus on the things that he or she could improve on, because everybody wants to win. The person who was defeated would then practice longer and harder than the person who won. The winner would still practice, but not as much as the loser. This would cause the loser to improve, while the winner’s skill level would stay the same. For example, if Team A loses a basketball game to Team B, the players on the losing team would reflect upon their playing. By doing this, the team will realize that they could improve on fast breaks, so they will practice them more. While Team A is getting much better at playing basketball, Team B would not practice as much because they do not think they need to improve, and therefore maintain their skill level. If this keeps up, then Team A would eventually defeat Team B. In this situation, defeat taught the losing team how to execute better fast breaks.

When one wins something, it is possible to get overconfident, which is a detriment to a competitor, and to people in general. Overconfidence can cause the victor to not try his or her best while practicing, because the person is positive that he or she will not lose. However, if one does not practice, then there is a very high chance of that person or team losing. When it is time for the next competition, and the person who did not practice gets defeated, the loser will realize that practicing could have caused that person to win. After this, the person who did not win would practice more, and do better in the future. An example of this is if Team A loses to Team B because of Team A’s poor fast breaks, Team B could get overconfident and not practice fast breaks at all. In the next game, Team B could lose to Team A due to Team B’s poor fast breaks. In this case, defeat taught the loser to not be overconfident.

Victory does not teach one very much. Defeat, on the other hand, can teach people a lot. Defeat gives one a reality check, and leads that person to improve his or her skills. Defeat also teaches people not to be overconfident, which is imperative to know.