All top competitors hate to lose but they can accept being beaten.
That’s how I see the general reaction from players like Serena, Federer, Rafa and others. If they feel they could have played better and might have won they are annoyed with themselves because they let themselves lose. If however they gave everything. That’s the best they could have given today and lost then they were outplayed. They don’t like it but they can live with it.
Losing to a better player on the day when you have given your all is respectable. Not giving enough isn’t.
That’s how I interpret their reactions. Why sometimes they are really upset with themselves for losing and other times they take it relatively in their stride. If they were beaten it feels different.
The relevance here is what it can do for your game. This insight helps me adopt a tougher mindset and remove the tension that can come with a winner takes all mentality.
Winners learn that they must be beaten to improve because they must play opponents better than themselves. They must learn how to dig out wins when the matchup says they should lose. What they learn is that giving everything during the match is what a champion does and that is what they are learning to do.
They spend the entire match believing they can win and constantly looking for weaknesses in their opponent to exploit. They don’t dwell on reasons they will lose other than to identify weaknesses they need to protect in the short term and improve in the long term. Throughout they put up a fight. Making sure they learn something that will help them in their next match, ensuring they constantly improve.
So I am learning to enjoy being beaten because I am playing people better than me. I’m not taking the easy route by only playing people I can beat. Right now I’m not yet match fit and so I am reminding myself how much goes into getting yourself and your game ready for battle.
Through this process I am learning to enjoy the journey instead of just the destination. I’m learning that the tough times I’m going through are needed to make the sweet wins even sweeter. So I love the feel of being beaten because I know it is part of growing and learning. It feels strange to write this but it is becoming true. I fear losing by not giving enough but not being beaten.
With this mindset I never lose because I never give up. I just fail harder 🙂