[LETTERS TO JOSH] Sometimes You Win, Sometimes You Lose

Dear Josh,

josh-cakeDo you remember how you felt when we won the cake-decorating contest at the Cub Scout Banquet?  Boy, there is nothing like winning.  Very little compares to trying to do your best and coming out on top.  The blue ribbon is something to be cherished.  In this life you will not win every time so when you do have fun in the victory.  But, be humble in the process. Winning is tricky because we have a tendency to think that we are pretty special because we have achieved some goal that we have set for ourselves and not only did we achieve our goal but we beat everybody else in the process.  Watch out for pride.  It seems to lurk behind every championship trophy or gold medal or blue ribbon you win.  There is an old saying that says that “pride comes before the downfall.”  What I think that means is if you think too much of yourself you will begin to do thing that will alienate you from the people around you and you begin to live in such a way that causes you to fall down on your face.  When you win, I want you to enjoy it but it is important to be a humble, gracious winner.  Don’t gloat!  Don’t think too highly of yourself.  But, enjoy every victory.  Savor the smell of success.  Remember the hard work it took to get to your goal and continue to get better.

Unfortunately, though sometimes you do not win the ribbon.  Sometimes you do your best and it is just not good enough.  There is always someone who is more talented than you, someone who worked harder than you, someone who picked up the ball faster than you.  That doesn’t make you are less of a person it just means you lost the contest.  YOUR VALUE AS A PERSON IS NOT DETERMINED BY YOUR WIN/LOSS RECORD.  YOUR VALUE AS A PERSON IS MANY TIMES DETERMINED BY HOW YOU RESPOND TO YOUR WIN/LOSS RECORD.  I can’t tell you how many things I have tried to do something and lost.  Most of the sports teams I have played on had losing records.  We were good but not good enough.  But, for me the fun is in the trying.  I love to compete and put myself up against someone who is better and see how I do.  I learn something every time I do that.  I remember playing a guy in tennis one time that was the number one tennis player on his team in college.  He smoked my butt really good.  I only won one game in the whole set.  But, the thing I remember is “I beat a guy who was the best tennis player on his college tennis team.  Winners see the good, accept the bad and move forward to try to improve. It took me a long time to separate losing a game and being a loser.  Losing a game is something we all experience, being a loser is a mindset that says, “I can’t cut it.”  There is a huge difference.  I have lost many times, I have very rarely thought of myself as a loser.   Sometimes our greatest lessons in life are learned when we lose.  Honestly, I have figured out how much of a winner I was more after a key loss than after winning a championship.  A friend of mine says, “losers make excuses, winners make plays.”  That’s pretty good.  When you lose don’t make excuses, just vow to continue to get better.

Sometimes you win; sometimes you lose.  Being a winner is more than being ahead on the scoreboard after the final horn sounds.  Being a winner is a mindset that says, “I will always try to do my best and let the chips fall where they may.”  Be a winner Josh, even if you lose every game!


President of the Josh Fan Club

Letters to Josh is a series of letters written from a dad to his son Josh trying to capture some of the important life lessons he wanted to pass on. These letters are a bit random in nature but each is written to address a key issue in the development of a young man. These letters are written from a very imperfect father whose love knows no bounds for his son. These letters are shared with you (the reader) only because we hope that the things we are learning and thinking through will help you and your sons.

Title image credit: Meghan Anderson-Colangelo, SXC. Image of Josh: Tim Howington. Posted by permission of ReadyAimLife.com.

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