Can You Be a Loser?

When I was in college I sold vacuum cleaners door-to-door for about a year to make money to pay bills. Every afternoon all the salespeople would meet for a pep talk.

Our manager would stir us up with inspirational quotes, we’d use plastic bowling pins to beat out the rhythm of songs we’d sing, and we’d finish our session with a chant.

We’d shout, “We are winners! We are winners! We are winners!” Then we’d go out to sell vacuum cleaners.

That experience was my first introduction to the “you-must-be-a-winner” attitude that so defines our culture. If you do not win at everything, then you must be a loser. Win at love. Win at business. Win at conflict. Just win at whatever the cost. What a lousy way to live a life!

Don’t get me wrong. We should love those around us. We should work hard at business. We should respond appropriately in conflict. We just do not have to win every time to be successful.

We can all benefit from remembering a few simple truths about winning and losing.

1. Might does not always make right. Might comes in a lot of packages–physical size, status, or willpower. Might seduces you to believe you are right.

Just because you can impose your opinion or will on someone does not make what you are doing right. Imposing your might to win can hurt people and break them. We should never want to be a part of doing that to someone. Sometimes you can show great strength by losing.

2. Being right is not always worth the price. If you are right and you win then what you win may not be worth the price. The taste of success can seduce us to do whatever we need to do to savor its flavor.

The next time you win at something look around, do the math, and ask yourself if it was worth the price. If you have any doubts, then the price was too high.

3. You can lose everything and change the world. There are many stories that prove this truth. Let’s choose the most famous one.

God said, “I love you enough that I will give you my son. He’ll take the hit for what you do to each other and yourselves.” Anytime there is conflict, it will escalate until someone says, “I love you enough that I will not fight any more.”

The next time you are trying to win ask yourself if you love enough to lose. Sometimes it takes losing everything to gain your heart’s desire.

Can you be a loser and change the world? Have you been changed more by winning or by losing? That is the test for each of us. Can you be a loser?

  • Sassay S.

    Good article!

    • darrell

      Thanks, Sassay!

  • Mom


    • darrell

      THanks, Mom!

  • Barb

    Good word my friend!

    • darrell

      Thanks, Barb! I’ve been trying to learn to live that way all my life (with mixed results). It’s good to have you reading . . . .

  • Alvaro Manrique Barrenechea

    Excellent post Darrell. There are so many times when losing is actually winning. I think that this is actually one of the things that defines us; realizing when loosing will actually “taste” better than winning.

    • darrell

      You’re right, Alvaro. It is a significant moment in our lives when we realize winning isn’t everything and we willingly “lose” so someone else may “win.” It is transformative . . . .