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Our world teaches us that winning is good and losing is bad. I would argue that you shouldn’t think that way. Winning and getting positive results is great, but there is something deeper in competing. Competition is everywhere in life. Victory in defeat is when you learn from defeat. You might not win the game, you might not get an A in the class, you might not get the job, and you might not get the client. Victory in defeat happens when you give everything you have, when you make an all-out effort and you can reflect on what happened. You learn a lesson and you figure out how to improve.

So sometimes when you lose, you really win. You learn from your mistakes and analyze what went wrong in a way that you probably would not do if you had won. You have reflected and made a discovery, which will only help you in the long run.

Sometimes in victory, there is defeat. A lot of times when we win, we don’t go into that reflective mode. We don’t stop to think about what we may have done wrong or what we could have done better. We don’t realize that we may have just gotten lucky. We usually just think, OK, we won. Let’s celebrate and move on to the next game, the next task.

The very best, most successful people go back and review even after they have won. They look at film, review notes, or replay conversations with their clients. They look at what they could improve upon. Many times, winning is about luck, but luck is unpredictable. What is predictable is effort. Therefore, a good question to ask ourselves after a victory is: “Did we put forth our best effort?” Hopefully, the answer to that question is yes, but if we didn’t put forth our best effort, we should ask “why not?” and “how can we fix that?”

Next, we have to look at what lessons we might have learned and how we can improve. All too often, that doesn’t happen, which leads to defeat in victory. Do not let the scoreboard tell the whole story.

I will end this chapter with a few examples of the totality of victory and defeat. In the 1990’s I remember seeing a commercial that featured Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest basketball player to ever grace the NBA courts. In the commercial Michael Jordan recites the following:

“I’ve missed 9,000 shots in my career.”

“I’ve lost almost 3,000 games.”

“26 times, I’ve been trusted with the ball to take the game winning shot.”

“And missed.”

“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.”

“And that is why I succeed.”


If you ever want to be inspired it won’t take more than 4 minutes. I would highly recommend that you go to YouTube and watch the battle between Wendy Ingraham and Sian Welch that occurred in the 1997 Ironman World Championships. Words do not do justice in describing what one witnesses when they watch “The Crawl”. After 140 miles of intense competition these women literally gave everything they had to finish 4th and 5th in the world respectively. Even though both of these women did not finish 1st that day, one will see from this emotional finish that both of these women experienced victory in defeat.

And lastly perhaps the most powerful example ever left on this earth of victory in defeat, is the symbol of Christianity. Jesus’ death on the cross is the ultimate victory for Christians around the world. No cross, no crown.