In a season about growing from errors and mistakes, it seems that an episode about admitting defeat is required.  We cannot stay stationary and make progress.  This concept holds for individual situations and group decisions like the one we examine.  That is why some things in life clearly defined as a win or loss (a sports match, for example) are a blessing.  We have no real choice other than to move forward.  Yes, we can languish in the loss and try to reverse it.  However, it is an exercise in futility that forces us sooner or later to accept reality.

Admitting Defeat Is Necessary

One of the key ingredients to learning from a mistake is recognizing it as such.  That is something I have bumped into many times.  Someone “gets lucky,” and a mistake still results in a successful result.  They then decide the error was a good thing, and they continue to make it.  Eventually, things add up, and now you might have a habit to reverse rather than a simple mistake.  When we have a clearly defined loss, we are forced to examine it and look for ways to win the next time.  For example, watch athletes and coaches that constantly blame the officials for their losses.  They never seem to improve.  They are effectively reinforcing bad habits.

The Lesson Learned

No one likes a sore loser.  Like it or not, that is how you will be viewed when you refuse to move forward from a loss.  All of the complaining and excuses and even finger-pointing end up looking like whining.  Own your mistakes and losses, and then look for ways to turn them around.  You gain more than the respect of those around you.  You take a step closer to victory the next time.

If you like this season, you will probably like Scott Adams’ book, “How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life.”

Rob Broadhead

Rob is a founder of, and frequent contributor to, Develpreneur. This includes the Building Better Developers podcast. He is also a lifetime learner as a developer, designer, and manager of software solutions. Rob is the founder of RB Consulting and has managed to author a book about his family experiences and a few about becoming a better developer. In his free time, he stays busy raising five children (although they have grown into adults). When he has a chance to breathe, he is on the ice playing hockey to relax or working on his ballroom dance skills.

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