20 Aug There are ways to lose and things to learn from losing.
Sport, business, love ….. we’ve all been losers, but it’s how we lose and what steps we take afterwards that really matters in life.
Watching the Olympics these last few weeks, side by side with spectacular wins there have been memorable losses like when Jessica Ellis-Hill failed in her bid for double Olympic gold glory in the Heptathlon slipping into second place behind Nafissatou Thiam but how warmly and generously she congratulated the winner the instant she lost. Jessica showed humility and good grace and acknowledged on the day a better athlete won. She smiled, exuded an air of peacefulness too, as if content with herself, knowing she had done her best. So in losing there was no anger or malice. That is the sign of a great athlete. Magnanimous in victory, magnanimous in defeat.
And in the women’s 5000m heats when USA’s Abbey D’Agostina and New Zealand’s Nikki Hamblin both tripped and fell, they helped each other up to finish the race. Funnily both women received more worldwide coverage for this display of Olympic spirit than the medal winners did.
And one of the most favourite interviews I ever did has to have been with the fashion legend Mary Quant. She told me about a fashion failure she had that could have ruined her, but only for some quick thinking and some very quick acting did she survive.
Her mistake was introducing the maxi one season. The skirts went into her Chelsea Bazaar Boutique but no one was interested in buying them. She knew she was going to have to do something drastic to save her seasons clothes and save the company. Over one weekend she stopped making any more maxis, converted what maxis she had into minis, and then used the rest of the material she had bought for minis. ‘Maxis took a lot of material, there was a lot of cost in each of them and with this simple change disaster was averted.’ Simple perhaps to a fashion legend, ingenious for the rest of us!
So here’s to learning how to lose from the best of them and knowing too from big losses can come great gains!