8 Aug 2020


How to Lose Well

"Some people clearly have to be taught on how to accept the loss of something. Whether you like it or not, you are going to have to lose something anyway sooner or later – an object or a human being".


Angelo Achuil (2016)



1.     Understand that you have no option but play

Life is a game and you are in it already without negotiation as to whether you should be involved – you have already taken the risk of participation and what you make is what you gets, profit or loss. If you are like everybody else in this world, then your coming into this life was more like a mystery. You found yourself put here into the game by someone somewhere to play your part. Since the joining the living on this earth is out of question, we go straight into – now that you already came, how are you going to manage living here – playing the game? This earth had its own rule that say certain times you must accept losses because it is always wiser and even cheaper than otherwise- an unknown observer said “‘it's the way its always been and those that do not agree to her terms......well, they don't get to stick around for very long' because they don’t know how to live in harmony with their environment.” You came and found the earth here, so learn how to adapt with her changes.

2.     Know the impact of your attitude on how you see things

Know that the degree as to how much you suffer loss is directly relative to your attitude about the loss. Your attitude is your view of things. It is about how much you think a gain is again and a loss a loss – is a loss ought to be part of life or its end? Think of this: two men suffer lost the same day. Both of them belonged to the same team that lose but whereas one of them said it was a good game and that his team needed to improve more but kept on with his daily work, the other refused to eat or even go to work because he said nothing made sense anymore. The same event, same team, same time, same place but different responses because of attitude -one positive and the other negative.

3.     Know that a game is useful only if opponent exists

Whether you like it or not, you are going to have opponents no matter what you do or where you go – your competitor may even be other creatures if there are no humans around. And competition is what makes life more interesting at times because it makes you realize how valuable certain things and privileges really are – when with you and when they must go. How would you like a game where you are the only player with yourself? A game where everybody is a spectator with you and you alone having a new ball with none playing and scoring 100%?- and then if you were to be a fan, will you enjoy watching such a game? What if the whole town or country was left to you with all its contents and people fled, what will you do with it? Will you not look for people again? What make sport interesting is that once you joined, you automatically are assumed that you will abide by the rules, no matter who you are or the whistles you have. Allow the game to be a game and not make it assumes what it was not intended for – extermination  

4.     Accept clean loss first from inside

Some people clearly have to be taught on how to accept the loss of something. Whether you like it or not, you are going to have to lose something anyway sooner or later – an object or a human being. But there is more honor in leaving and living with your integrity than with disgrace during loss. When you lose or win, you shall know from the inside and you will do well to abide by your conscience than by your status or peer pressure. Rarely in fair competition do two sides draw because performance levels vary. Someone will at times do his best better than you. This happen when one refuses to perform well because s/he relies on his/her status to intimidate, hurt, or kills to get or keep the reward. Sometime, God know it is not in your ultimate interest to win at certain time because of what will happen to you later – it may be that if you forces winning, you will pay dearly for it now or later, remember the prover “Justice do not get old.” There are times for winning and there are also times to lose. “The world does not owe you anything” to be making you comfortable all the times at the expense of the loss of others. Take it as a lesson and prepare to do better tomorrow and who knows that you may win again?

5.     Don’t bend the rules for your gain, it will bite back!

There are those who think that laws are laws only when it is in their interest – even in the middle of the game (power), they would dare change rules just to remain in the game. If indeed others are my witnesses that I have won but you refuse to acknowledge that I have won because you refused to perform well like I did, my first thought will be why should I let you take what’s mine? If the law was only for your interest and not mine also, then such law should NOT be allowed to exist because it neither acknowledges me as a person nor my performance as an event. There are those who like breaking the rules as little as traffic to as big as community constitution but will not bear seeing others do the same. If you do not keep the law why should I keep it? If you don’t accept defeat, why should I? If everybody goes breaking the rules then nobody has the right above anybody and everyone will be right in their own right since there is no common law for all to be punished or measure up to. Have you never read that where there is no law, there is no right or wrong? Meaning that if there are no rules that apply to us equally telling us what is good or bad, then everything is allowable – doing anything to anyone anywhere whenever and however I please and it will all still be perfectly allowable for me[1]. If you are a leader somewhere, then the degree of how well you abide by the law will be reflected by your subjects and will pay you back in kind. If you are looking for every chance to break rules or cheat the system so will everybody do the same – gamming the system until it collapses? A good example is what is happening now to South Sudan from traffic to national revenues rules. If today I am in power and I am making everything boil down to my interest and that of my friends at the expense of yours, what can my family expect from your children if they get into power years from now?

6.     Identify and understand the God/god you worships and get aligned

One time, a professor at a certain Ugandan peace conference said something like this “There is an irony between Africa and Europe, between the northern hemisphere and the southern one. There are many leaders in Europe who do not care about religion or God and many who do not even want to know who Jesus Chris is but something about them is so striking to me. The way they lead their people is remarkable. Their countries are better off. This is why many Africans leaders would brag with details about their having visited Europe or studied there. The leaders there are humble and are ready to resign over the slightest of offenses in the office like a small harassment, or sex scandal or corruption allegation– we wonder, really?? They would do all and go far to raise living standards of their people. It is a fact we are well aware off because even our big people go there begging for help. And then in Africa, we have so many leaders who name the name of Christ but whose leadership is appalling and thrives in luxury at the expense of their masses who do not have enough food to eat let alone electricity or refrigerators – and what’s worse? They become so arrogant and proud about their status! And for most of them no matter what they do, they lack enough shame to make them resign from what they are doing and when Sunday comes, they are there in front singing ‘All to Jesus I surrender.’ and we wonder, really?? Do they really understand the mind of Jesus whom they worship?  It is an irony that I cannot understand.” This irony could mean either they do not yet know the requirement of the God/Jesus they worship or something is wrong with the teaching of Jesus himself. God or every god anyone worship has rules about how we ought to play in the game of life. Any worship that evades objectivity will meet objections. Religion is only useful if it help us know how to deal with others especially during failure.


7.     Be willing to give up your right to avoid greater damage and save lives

One time during a fierce race competition, someone called McQueen who was well ahead of all racers, only few meters from the finish line heard a great fall of one of his friends behind. At that instant, his heart was touched and instead of going to the finish line, he stopped, turned back to attend the badly wounded competitor behind him. No one believed what they saw McQueen doing – giving up the victory to someone behind to attend the wounded? What he did however proved to all that he believed “there was more to competition than just winning.” This is what people of integrity do in this world – giving up bells and whistles of status and luxury especially when the risk of attaining them is greater than letting go of them. There had been many elections won and abandoned in the world because evil men and women will not care about the death of thousands of innocent people, and for this not to happen, the men or women of integrity will refuse to approve the use of violence to get what is rightly theirs. They prefer being loved than feared. This is because most often when the top individuals engages in violence, they tend to do so indirectly by making the gullible masses pay the ultimate price – death for what are so temporary such as jobs. There is more honors living with little honestly-earned than with plenty that’s ill-gotten. There are reasons why we have more Abel(s) than Cain(s) in this life, and why there is hope for Abel in the next life than Cain who refused to accept the outcome of what he saw as an apparent competition –  giving the “Utmost for the highest.”


8.     Remember that every game (good/bad) will end

A friend one time told this “There was a day when I was having a lot of problems. My world was falling apart and I was so upset. Personal and work-related problems were coming and was wondering what to do, then my spiritual mentor said ‘don’t be too upset, this will pass.’ When I thought of it, it was very encouraging just focusing on the fact that those problems were going to pass by and not remain forever. Then few days later, those problems were indeed gone and I became very happy. I was having great time and feeling so good and was telling my mentor about it. He then said ‘that too will pass,’ it was not very encouraging but think about it, he was right – it came and passed.” In every game, problems are bound to happen. It however gets to be too much when some members enter the game and then want the game dynamics to always be in the favor of their side. Problems happen when people join the game and immediately forget that naked they came and naked will they leave. There is no game we know of in this world being played where some certain team players are immortal and some mortal – everybody is coming and is passing. If one gets to accept the fact that nobody is allowed to hang around forever, you won’t take losing too seriously because even the one who wins against you today will also lose tomorrow to somebody else who is coming. It was unavoidable when you came into this game of life and it will be unavoidable for you to leave when time hits and none of us in this world will do a thing about changing that fact. So how upset or excited you are today, remember it will pass. It is part of the rules you will not change – keep that in mind when tempted not to leave.

9.     Don’t forget to Congratulate your competitor/s


If you acknowledge the usefulness of rule #2 (competitor), you will do well to appreciate that somebody took the courage, time, and resources to compete with you. This is good for two reasons – first for your own health, peace, and integrity. When congratulating your competitor who had done better than you, your brain will continue to inform your body to recognize and accept the loss and be at peace with yourself instead of suffering from envy, hate, or anger. Secondly, your competitor will be happy to have you acknowledge his/her performance and will naturally be friendly to you and also have peace of mind since you are not angry. This is because especially in Africa, very few are doing this painful but needful step of accepting loss. Way before the results (football match or elections) are even announced, both sides will have been preparing for battles following announcement of final results. This is because each side thinks they must be declared the winner regardless of their performance. But when the side at loss takes the courage to congratulate the other side after victory is declared – it will be a great surprise for many to see you doing that. It helps both teams and even the entire community in fostering harmony – thereby setting precedence of “goodwill” toward recognizing honest winning culture. You will have allowed everybody to go home free without grudges or fear of being attacked at night for having just won. Make Jokes about your effort and tell stories that will make people at ease.


10.  Take some time off to reflect

In the game of chess, it is recommended that if you lost twice consecutively, it is recommended that you take a break to reflect a bit. This idea may well be applicable to other parts of this life game. A break helps the mind to cool down, reflect on what went wrong, heal from the pain of the loss by taking the mind away to other things about life. During this time, the brain is sharpened to be able to take on more daunting tasks without risking burn out. It is like a story of a man I heard. The man bought a brand new axe, went into the woods and starting cutting down trees to make a garden. The first day he cut down 17 trees and then went home dirty and tired. Early in the morning, he took off for the same job but only managed 9 trees and then went home like he did a day earlier. By the third day, he spent the whole day working but only managed to cut down 3 trees and went home even more dirty and exhausted than he did two days before but was furious with his axe. In the morning, he took off to the shop instead of the garden. He angrily complained to the shopkeeper about how useless his axe had become when it was only just 3 day old! He explained how the axe had started off well but then kept on getting worse at such an alarming rate. “Did you take the time to take breaks and enough rest during work and have you been also sharpening your axe?” He said that he had not been taking enough rest and that since the axe was new, he saw no need for sharpening it. He was told to go back and try what he was told and see whether there will be an improvement. Our bodies are like that in some way. After a lot of work, we should let our body including the brain to stop thinking about the issue we had been stressing about to cool and to re-sharpens its cutting edge.


[1] Romans 4:15

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