In my entire life, I was a sore loser. I’m not sure if I was born this way or it’s because some experiences from my childhood but a frustrating feeling of a loss was always there with me. I recently discovered that my perspective on winning, losing, success and failure have changed for the better and I know exactly why. The goal of this article is to tell the story of my transformation and how I managed to pull it off.
The birth of a sore loser
I had a computer since I was 4. I can still remember sitting in front of an old IBM computer and playing Pipe Dream on the Windows 3.1. These were the first steps of becoming the video game nerd I am today.
As soon as I was introduced to the wonders of the internet I discovered online multiplayer as well. Playing with others both cooperatively and competitively was a great way to have fun. This changed when I was a teenager. I played more and more competitively, even in some tournaments. I enjoyed winning tremendously but losing was something that I never took well and I often had trouble improving because I was focusing on winning instead of getting better.
When I was in college I noticed that I’m taking some of these games a little too seriously. At that point winning was the sweetest experience and losing was the toughest one. When I lost I often blamed others and different circumstances instead of myself and my performance. It was never my fault when we lost. Imagine a 20-year-old guy smashing his fist on the table because he lost a 20-minute match in a computer game. Now that I think about it I must have looked pathetic.
At that time winning was everything to me. It made me feel good about myself, feel self-confident and happy. On the other hand losing made me feel anger and this rage made me oblivious to the fact that I still need to improve and get better. With excuses made myself confident about my abilities and skills.
The worst part of being a sore loser is that it sucks the fun out of playing. You’re not playing anymore to have fun or enjoy yourself. I only have fun when I won and the easier the victory was the sweeter it tasted. Being a sore loser affected other parts of my life as well, like social life, education or work.
A few months ago I introduced myself to the growth mindset. I recognised what is the difference between my thinking and a growth-oriented one. As a sore loser, I was the exact opposite of course. I took feedback terribly, every failure came with excuses and I barely improved at all. As I started to implement the thoughts that the growth mindset represents I learned to take responsibility for my actions, especially for failure. I understood that there is no shame in failure, there’s no shame in defeat as long as you learn from it. If you fail, find out what do you have to do differently the next time, so you’ll succeed.
These thoughts helped me shift my focus from winning to improving. Although I made significant progress in the past 6 months but even now I still feel that my transformation is incomplete. If you’re interested more about the growth mindset I highly recommend reading this introduction article or downloading my free ebook on the growth mindset.
When I recently started to play online again I notice that my perspective on defeat, fun and victory are different. Not just slightly different but fundamentally. I can honestly say that this is the first time in 10 years I’m having fun playing with other people online competitively. Furthermore, now I have an easier time improving, figuring out what I’m doing poorly and learning from other people. It’s all thanks to the growth mindset.
Are you a sore loser? Have you ever had trouble dealing with defeat and failure? Do you have fun playing we only have fun when you’re winning? What do you think how can you improve on this?
About the authorGabor Hosszu is the founder and head article writer of Goals Infinite. Being passionate about personal development and helping others were the main reasons he launched this site. By trade Gabor is a mechanical engineer. His hobbies include being a chilli farmer, a video game nerd and a wannabe beer expert.