By Ruth Thomas
How to handle winning and losing
In most competitions there is a winner and a loser, or a winning team or a losing one. A winner can experience a range of emotions feeling ecstatic, confident, vindicated, superior, happy, relaxed. A loser may experience an array of emotions from feeling distraught, depressed, angry, resentful, sad, anxious, like a failure, frustrated, inadequate, may be even cheated.
A couple of months ago I went Ten Pin bowling with a group of friends. I came last in the ‘competition’… The previous wooden spoon holder was elated! I had a lovely evening but I couldn’t help thinking about how it felt to come last when I felt I should have done so much better. I started thinking again about the Inclusive Skills competitions and the effects of losing and of winning. I believe competition doesn’t just create winners and losers. It builds determination, provides a chance to showcase learnt skills, develops self-confidence and self-belief, making us feel stronger and more resilient. It also helps develop a sense of humour and humility.
Competition a fact of life
We do need to learn that life isn’t always fair and it isn’t just the taking part that counts either. This can be a difficult lesson to learn. In many ways competition is a fact of life. Competition when it doesn’t go your way makes us keen to do better next time, so we practice more and this also helps increase our enthusiasm. When we do get to the winning side then we often still want to continue to improve thus driving skill development and innovation even further.
Building resilience provides a protection from disappointment and helps us to bounce back. Winning is also a fact of life. To win with grace and to show respect to our opponents is good but know that it is great to also enjoy a win!
I had conflicting thoughts towards the end of my bowling experience. One thought was that ten pin bowling just isn’t my game and therefore I won’t bother to play again. This was matched by a thought or two that I should have a lesson or two to help address my lack of skill. The ball goes off to the left at every throw!
The outcome – competition is healthy, develops us as people, and drives innovation too! It’s got to be good for us all. Now where can I get Ten Pin Bowling lessons?
For more information on Inclusive Skills Competitions visit www.inclusiveskills.co.uk
Ruth Thomas was Chief Executive and Strategic Advisor at Derwen College at the time of writing this post.