In life, we can never win all the time. However, losing can be a pretty disappointing setback for us, especially when we did hope very much to succeed. There are many ways to deal with losing to make us feel better and less of a failure, and some of my coping strategies are borrowed from certain cultures in other countries that I hang out with.
1. Like an American
What do Americans do when they’re on the losing end? Why, they argue it out, of course. Sometimes the most uncouth and ungraceful methods are the ones that best regulate your feelings. If you lose a debate or a contest, it can be extremely gratifying to keep on arguing like a sore loser over why you should have been right. It’s true that Singapore is a lot more collectivistic and high-context than the United States, and if you behave this way in Singapore people aren’t going to be happy with you.
But the fact of the matter is, why do you care?
If you don’t do this too often, I’m sure people won’t mind if you express your vexations once in a while. After venting them out, you’ll feel a lot better, or who knows, maybe your arguments will even turn the tide and let people reconsider your point. It’s always better than bottling up your feelings and thinking too much about them. You’ll be shocked at how long you hang on to such silly petty thoughts and make mountains out of the molehills.
2. Like a Filipino
If I’m acting like a Filipino, when I lose, what do I do? Why, I’m glad for the other person, of course! After all, a game is a game, and win or loss doesn’t matter!
This may naturally be a bit of a stereotype, but the idea is that we can adjust our own mindsets to rationalise to ourselves that games are just games after all. If we can change our thoughts and talk ourselves into believing that losing doesn’t matter as much, of course we’ll become much more carefree people. Our attitudes towards losses are our own, and it’s up to us to change our own mindsets and then to alter our emotions. And when people see us behaving as graceful losers, they’ll be much nicer to us too, which in turn sets off the cycle of feeling good.
3. Like an Australian
Speaking of changing ourselves, some of us may be too lazy to rationalise to ourselves that we love playing games for the sake of playing games (not that I’m saying Australians are lazy; in fact, they’ve got the right idea here). We can simply go with the laid-back attitude instead, that things will turn out well in the end and seriously, it’s not as if this activity was important to begin with. We should forget about this and go do something else we actually enjoy.
The idea of dealing with losing is the same as dealing with conflicts. When we’re in a conflict, we’re worried because we don’t want to lose. If we go about it the American way, we’re Fighting the conflict. If we go about it in the Filipino way, we’re Giving In. If we go about it in the Australian way, we’re Avoiding the conflict. None of these methods are wrong. Neither are they exhaustive. There’re also 2 more methods in dealing with conflicts, namely Compromising and Problem Solving. These are all just suggestions you can try (some will prefer 1 method more than others), whether for dealing with losing or any other setbacks in your life.