I am totally addicted to watching Shark Tank. Never in my right mind have I wanted to start my own business because I know how much work it is. My husband, on the other hand, is business driven, but we both really enjoy watching everyday people pitch their billion dollar ideas. The show is quite creative with the angles they take on each individual. They manage to make the viewers feel connected (or disconnected) to the business owner in a matter of minutes. The aspect of the show I like most is watching how people react to the outcome. By the end of the show, each individual is crying, celebrating, or walking away pissed.
No one likes to lose.
I truly think that we are in a new age of “everyone get’s a trophy.” Little league teams aren’t keeping score, summer sport athletes are all getting participation ribbons, and no one ever walks away empty handed. Ever.
You can already imagine the long list of problems that I could toss at you with how never losing is totally screwing up our children. Instead, I want to shed light onto what happens when life gives you a hard-knock over the handshake.
It’s always someone else’s fault. We find solace telling ourselves that it wasn’t anything we did; it was bad instructions that screwed things up. Perhaps the refs were unfair and their calls were crap. Or perhaps the girl who won knew the judges and they couldn’t have possibly picked anyone else. The blame-game makes us feel better about the fact that the outcome wasn’t how we anticipated.
Perhaps like those contestants on Shark Tank, we go the guilt-trip route. Cue the crocodile tears and the sappy story we saved up just for this moment. This is the last resort and now, if we can just win, we will give it everything we’ve got.
Often we can’t control ourselves. Our body does strange things when it feels attacked. The sympathy route can go quite far in some situations and what better way to try and win than to toss in some emotion, right?
In other losing situations, we might decide that we are simply done. We quit. Why’d we even tried in the first place? We didn’t like the team and we only played because our parents made us. With the roll of our eyes, we pack up our stuff and leave without giving it another second of our time. Quitting on our commitment seems like the best idea now that we know we aren’t as good as we thought.
Here’s where I explain why we can’t always win, in fact, I think it hurts us.
Can you think about the first time you lost? I mean really lost. You tried your absolute hardest and still walked away a loser? I can and it shook my world. It was the 5th and 6th grade track meet and I totally dominated the mile at my school. I always beat the girls and most of the boys in practice so I knew I had it in the bag. On the day of the race, I lined up with the other 5th & 6th grade girls and ran my heart out. And you guessed it, it wasn’t me who made it to the finish line first. I was in total shock and couldn’t help but cry. Tears of defeat streamed down my cheeks. I was so embarrased that I didn’t think I would ever run again. Then something magical happened, I couldn’t wait for next year because I knew what needed to be done. I was determined to win next time and I wasn’t going to dare let anyone out train me. That competitive spirit was born within me and it still drives me today!
If we are continually giving our children trophies, where is the incentive to do better? How do they measure their performance if they are rewarded regardless of their performance? This is actually happening in the real world and the quality of performance in the workforce is drastically decreasing. How can you pay the factory worker the same amount as the production manager? They have less responsibility and less work but are getting paid the same amount. There is no incentive to do better because they already have it better.
I am sure there are a lot of you, myself included, who are in denial. We shake our head in disbelief because we aren’t guilty of any of this. Fact is, we are. No one likes to lose or walk away without the crown. Only one person can walk away with the title and only one team will come out on top. The old saying “if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen” couldn’t be more true but we need to understand that heat is in the recipe.
Do our future a favor; don’t always let your little ones win. Instead teach them that losing is part of the game and that it’s not a judgment of their character. They are still worthy of a win next time and they have to work harder to earn that win. What reflects their character is how they win or lose and that could be a reflection of you.
It’s true, how you lose says more about you than the number of trophies you have on your mantel.
You can follow Mrs. Indiana 2017, Mekayla Eppers, on Instagram at MissMekaylaFitness and SpilledMilkClub.