The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Viewpoint – Losing, failure teach important life lessons

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The Collegian Logo

By Michael Foster-Sanders/campus editor

Nobody likes to be the loser when it comes to competition whether it’s in love, sports, school or video games. But has the mentality of winning by any means necessary and kids not learning about losing due to an “everybody wins” society undermined the lesson in losing graciously? I honestly believe society has lost its way.

The “everybody wins” mentality that’s being pushed is dangerous. Not only does it teach children that they don’t have to put in the work to achieve greatness, but it also creates entitled adults who melt down when things don’t go their way.

We, the American public, are seeing the side effects of not knowing how to lose or how to maintain dignity after rejection. From something simple like LeBron James mentally checking out after J.R. Smith’s mistake during the NBA Finals, to the far more serious mass shootings at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School by a shooter whose girlfriend broke up with him, and the recent shooting at the Madden qualifiers in Jacksonville, Florida, at the hands of a shooter who lost the tournament. But the need to win by any means necessary is not something new. 

Athletes of yesteryear, such as Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson and Mark McGwire with performance-enhancing drugs, or Tonya Harden having Nancy Kerrigan attacked to make sure winning was the only outcome, destroyed their legacies by not accepting possible defeat with fair competition. 

“The greatest test on Earth is being able to bear defeat without losing heart,” Robert Green Ingersoll said. 

This past May, I went to my daughter’s field day event and saw parents not encouraging or cheering on other kids, letting them know that they would all get the same participation ribbon. That somewhat disturbed me, especially after my daughter asked for help and tips to help her win. I was proud to see her give it all she had on the field. 

Learning to lose teaches problem solving and develops critical thinking skills. It forces you to look at your mistakes so you can improve upon them and put yourself in a better position to win next time.

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