On the campaign trail, one of President Trump’s favorite rallying calls was that under his watch, America was going to “start winning again.” A quick survey of his Twitter account will reveal that calling his opponents “losers” is one of his favorite— and, in his eyes, most damning— insults. Trump, it seems, is obsessed with winning.
But is losing all that bad of a thing? I don’t think so. At least, I hope not. I’ll be the first to admit it— I have done a lot of losing in my life. That is not to say that I consider myself a failure, or even that I have a Hollywood-worthy rags-to-riches story. Yet I am convinced that some of life’s most important lessons come not from winning but from getting knocked down, from fighting through disappointment, and from picking yourself up over and over again.
If it were an enforceable idea, I’d propose making losing a graduation requirement. Too many students go through high school — and sometimes even college — dodging disappointment, switching out of challenging classes for easy A’s and joining new teams or clubs for things they are already good at. The fear of being bad at something means they miss out on opportunities to learn new things or develop fresh skills.
Losing teaches humility, humbleness and perseverance. Overcoming initial defeat builds resolve and thickens skin. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that these are qualities that Trump seems to lack in spades. Maybe he would be more relatable and compassionate now if, instead of receiving a million dollar loan from his father, he had been allowed to make his own way after college, to struggle and stumble a time or two. Maybe Trump’s privileged background and obsession with winning has robbed him of valuable life lessons.
But, hey, what do I know— After all, I am just a loser.