Defeat is a Great Teacher

I explore the idea of loss through the defeat of Rhonda Rousey against Holly Holm, a champion boxer and mixed martial artist.

Ronda Rousey, the undefeated champion of women’s MMA has recently been defeated by Holly Holm, a champion boxer and mixed martial arts. Rousey, in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, admitted that she contemplated suicide after her loss. She adds she went through an existential crisis and wasn’t sure if people were still going to care about her after her loss. I didn’t watch the fight, but from word of mouth, I heard it was a great, intense fight to watch.

I appreciated that Rousey admitted that she experienced suicidal thoughts because it’s very taboo to speak about it. People that contemplate suicide are seen as weak and just looking for an easy way out. It reminded me that even champions are prone to the same flaws as everyone else. I empathize with her because I’ve had suicidal thoughts, discouragement, and self-doubt. Losing after being number one for so long can shake up one’s confidence, but there are positives to loss.

Loss is humiliating, but it’s a great teacher in humility. It forces us to look at our mistakes and to stop being cocky. Even the best will eventually fall.  As much as we like to think we’re the number one in something, there will always be someone younger, smarter, and stronger.  All of us will eventually grow older and die, and the next generation will take over.

Similar to Rousey, I’ve been experiencing self-doubt and an existential crisis after my disastrous student teaching assignment. Through my experience, I’ve learned a few tips in dealing with loss.

  1. Accept all uncomfortable emotions. Self-doubt, sadness, anger, discouragement, etc. They aren’t there to harm you; they are there to point you to a healthier direction.
  2. Loss is a greater teacher than success. Losing sucks, but if you take the time to analyze your mistakes, it makes you a stronger and better person.
  3. It’s failure when you refuse to learn from your mistakes and take the lessons to make better decisions.
  4. Have an action plan on how to turn your loss into a success.
  5. Find a support system, mentors, to help you.
  6. Loss isn’t there to weaken you, but to make you stronger.

No one likes defeat, but it can be a strong teacher that can help you ascribe to greater success.

Photo by Zennie Abraham ( via Flickr. 

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