Getting back up after a loss


After you suffer a loss in competition it’s easy to feel like your loss on the mat extends into every aspect of your life. Making yourself vulnerable and putting yourself out there sometimes inevitably leads to disappointment and failure, but there are some things that can help you get back on the mat in a positive state of mind.

Know that every failure brings with it a seed of equivalent opportunity.

The great writer Napoleon Hill, writer of Think and Grow Rich, repeated this theme over and over again in his book about successful people.  He showed countless stories where successful people met failure head on, and saw those failures as stepping stones towards success.

Every time you lose a match, get swept, get submitted, each time you have two choices; you can decide to get emotional (angry, sad, frustrated), or you can get back up and start looking at what you can do better next time.  Each time you give an inch, there was something wrong, there was some sort of technical detail that you didn’t have mastered and your opponent was able to capitalize.  Its easy to say things like, “He was just too strong to beat”, or “He was just too flexible, I couldn't pass his guard”.  Those statements are just cop outs though, they allow you to sit and wallow in your inadequacies, and they actually relieve you from feeling failure because they allow you to believe that your failure was due to some inherited ability of your opponent.

Of course things happen, you can have an adrenaline dump and gas out, your grips can burn out and leave you grasping for controls you can’t hold onto, but when you lose a match or give up a position it’s usually from one major thing, a lack of some technical skill.  Every failure is a prime opportunity to identify weaknesses and strengths, and it also gives you an opportunity to refine them and get better.

Each time you compete you get better.

Competition is a world all of its own.  It takes time getting used to the added pressure of competition.  Weeks, months, even years of training can all boil down to a matter of minutes, your friends, family, and teammates all watching on as you test yourself against hostile opponents in timed matches.  Its pretty intense, but like most things you get better with practice.

The more you compete the less pressure you tend to feel in competition, and less stress means you are able to let go and let your Jiu Jitsu flow from your core.  

In competition the tides can change in an instant, a single mistake can be the difference between winning and losing, as you get more experience you learn to play your game and adapt better to adversity in the middle of a match.

Like most things, competing is a skill that can be developed.  Put in your due diligence and learn from your defeats to boost your gains.

Ultimately your success boils down to how much you are willing to go through to achieve your goals.  There is no set amount of failure required for success, and it varies from person to person, some achieve success early, others have to push on much longer.  Taking every failure for what it really is though, a learning experience, will allow you to grow from each opportunity and become better each time.  Learn to see failure, not as a negative thing, but actually as opportunity, and your potential becomes limitless.
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