You must never be satisfied with losing. You must get angry, terribly angry, about losing. – Richard Nixon
What does that mean?
This is another Twitter-shortened version of a quote. A longer version is: “You must never be satisfied with losing. You must get angry, terribly angry, about losing. But the mark of the good loser is that he takes his anger out on himself and not his victorious opponents or on his teammates.”
There are lots of reasons to want to win. This quote reminds us of one of them. Losing is not very pleasant. As a politician in a two-party system, losing meant you went home until the next election. While that gives you time to consider what went wrong, it’s the most pleasant of times.
The longer version of the quote finishes with an admonition to be a good sport about it. Even if the other guy cheated, it was up to you to win, and you didn’t. Even if your team let you down, it was up to you to make things happen, and things just didn’t.
It’s easy to be kind in victory, easy to heap praise on the loser and on your team. But in defeat, how you treat others is a true test of your character. It’s not something you want to fail at, no matter how badly things went.
Why is being a good sport important?
Whether it is in an actual sport, or even a blood sport (like politics), being a good sport isn’t just about your reputation or favorable publicity. It is an opportunity to display your character, or complete lack thereof. I think we all want to be in the former camp, rather than the latter.
Does anyone want to play pool or cards with someone who shows poor sportsmanship? Someone who yells at the balls or throws the chalk or cards when things don’t go their way? I know I don’t. How fast do actions like that take all of the fun out of the game?
What about a meeting at work? Do you think you’d enjoy working with someone who yelled and screamed anytime something went wrong? It may make for interesting reality TV shows (I’m looking at you, American Chopper), but not for a great working environment, as the show clearly documented.
Where can I apply this in my life?
I believe good sportsmanship is an aspect of your character, and therefore always being used. You may not always, or even often (if ever), think of it that way, but I hope you will at least give it a try. If every action you take was being broadcast on TV, would you be proud of what the camera saw?
I believe we all have room for improvement. We all get frustrated, mad, or aggravated from time to time. We might even react in a less than proper way to these unpleasant stimuli. Whether it is traffic or a game, when things don’t go your way, do you take it out on the victor? Hopefully not.
Yet, from time to time, we do. To me, that is an important part of this quote. Yes, be frustrated, even angry. But turn it inside. Not as a punishment, but as a fire to motivate you to do better next time.
Those who are OK with not winning, don’t win very often, do they? They don’t have the fire inside them, the drive, the unquenchable desire to win. This quote urges us to use any loss as the fire to drive us to do better the next time we try.
Obviously, if it isn’t important, this doesn’t really apply. I wouldn’t use a loss at a game of checkers as a reason to really build my drive up to make sure I was ready and prepared to win next time. However, if you’re a checkers champion, you might, as it would be important to you, right?
The quote also warns us not to take our frustrations out on the victor or on our teammates. Again, it goes back to sportsmanship. In most sports, there is a form of ceremony after the game where the teams greet each-other and congratulate each-other on a well-played game. That, in my opinion, is what the quote is about.
And we’ve probably all seen some news footage or an internet video of someone being a jerk in the locker room after a loss. They rant and rave, blaming their teammates for playing poorly. Even if it was true, the behavior has damaged the team, and was definitely unsportsmanlike, right?
Those were some pretty obvious examples. But what about the rest of our lives? Well, I mentioned a bit about getting mad in traffic. When you want to change lanes, can you always do it, or do you lose from time to time? How do you handle the loss? Flash your lights, honk you horn, or use the single-finger salute? Is that sportsmanlike? I wouldn’t think so.
Do you always get the food you wanted to eat? Do you always get the best spot on the couch? Do you always get to sit next to your favorite person at lunch or in a meeting? In each case, you will win some, and lose some. How are you going to act when you lose?
It can even apply in a business situation, whether it’s getting a promotion, winning a contract, or getting the corner office. There are victories and losses. How are you going to act when you lose? It even applies in social or group situations. Are you a good sport?
To me, this quote applies any time you are trying to do something, and you don’t get what you want. That’s the way things go. That’s life, and it’s definitely not fair. Will you use the situation to strengthen your resolve, or will you yell at the victor or your team? Which shows good sportsmanship?
Just remember, say ‘NO’ to tantrums. You can lose without being a loser.
From: Twitter, @IdentitySolved
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/r/richardmn130744.html
Photo by mcarls
Happy Birthday to Richard Nixon, born 9 January, 1913.