What I Learned From Being A Loser
You can't win 'em all, hell, you can't even win 40 percent.
I caught myself saying that sentence to a friend yesterday, and it got me thinking: I've learned a lot from being a loser.
Life is hard, and you don't need some writer sitting on their computer to tell you that. When moving forward it's always good to see what your mistakes have given you. When you screw up, you get little gifts along the way.
Billie Joe Armstrong from Green Day has this quote, and it stuck with me throughout high school and college, "There's nothing wrong with being a loser, it just depends on how good you are at it."
And at first, I thought, "man, that's defeatist. Why would anyone aspire to be a loser?" But then, after much thinking and drunken conversation surrounding it, I realized that being a loser is essential to success. When have you ever run into a successful person who admits to 0 failures. When have you heard an interview with a famous actor or musician who says, "I've never been rejected. I've never lost out on an audition or record contract."
That's right, you haven't. Because everyone is a fucking loser. That may sound harsh, or too much: but think about it. If you've never lost, how will you know what winning really feels like?
In school and at work we're taught that success and winning are basically the same thing. Except they're not, they're far from it. Success is different for everyone, and the truth is that you can't be successful without going through some difficult times first, that's what makes success worth having. Face it, sweet victory doesn't usually come to those who have always have it easy. And those who win all the time now, did a lot of losing in high school and growing up.
I've been doing a lot of research on successful people and how they get that way, partly because I want to share it with you all, but also because I feel like I'm not sure where my life is headed right now.
If you look at giants like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, you'll know that they did a lot of fucking up before they made it in the tech industry. Like, massive failures. They both started businesses in their garages, and rose to meteoric fame. It seems that the failure was a motivator right? And in the least contrived sense possible, it worked. All the messes and the failures propelled them to do better things.
And it can propel you too, if you stop failing at being a loser. These words might seem contradictory and downright confusing but let's say you're a mountain climber. Yeah, I'm not a mountain climber, nor will I ever be, but for argument's sake let's just imagine it.
You're going on this amazing, frost-bite laden trip to the top of mount Kilimanjairo or Everest or whatever. You've packed your gear, you've got a formula and a complete map of where you're going and how you're going to get to the top. You've got google maps or some shit guiding you. And all of a sudden, you find yourself halfway up the mountain and your foot slips.
You're grabbing on to the icy face of a giant, and your backpack slips off your shoulders, cascading into the frozen tundra below. You hear a faint cracking sound, and realize that, you could easily be the next to fall to your death.
Instead of a nice easy climb, you're faced with certain failure, so massive that it could ultimately lead to your death.
Let's say you pull yourself up by your bootstraps or whatever, and you make it up the face of the mountain, without your gear, without any direction. Somehow, you beat the odds and create a legacy as the greatest mountain climber ever, you set some damn record, and you get airlifted home, feeling the weight of your accomplishments like a medal around your neck.
Now, do you think the climb would have been as rewarding if you followed google maps all the way up to the top, without any sort of failure or danger? Do you think you'd be praised and reported about if you were just another schmo climbing a mountain with all the bells and whistles?
Nobody cares about glossy rises to the top. Nobody cares about born winners. It's the losers that pull themselves up, make a difference and give people the permission to land on their feet, that get remembered. I haven't climbed up the mountain yet, and I'm far from becoming as famous or successful as those tech dudes I mentioned, but I'm on my way. I see the finish line, and though it's at the top of a steep mountain, and I have no climbing skill whatsoever, I'll get there. I know this, because I'm a fucking loser.
I learned a lot from taking the scary and dangerous path. I learned that being a loser is the first step to being a winner. It's cliche, but I'm really good at losing. I can embrace my failure, I can look forward without seeing the clouds.
Straight forward, no pit stops. No bathroom breaks. Just moving all the time. Being a loser isn't about landing on your feet, it's about letting the falls knock you on your ass. It's about getting up and saying, "Fuck...that sucked." And moving on.
Being a loser builds character. Heroes always get remembered, but legends never die, and more often than not you don't become a legend without first being a loser...first.