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  • Writer's pictureBassam Tarazi

Losing Is Not Ok

Dear Business Starters and Movement Creators,

This capitalistic world we find ourselves in demands competition. It’s part of our ante to sit at the table.

Nike competes with shoe companies.Zappos competes with shoe stores.Flip flops compete with shoes.

I’m not advocating approaching business like it was Viking Rule circa 1266 AD, but we can’t have it all. We can’t laud the free market and entrepreneurial spirit, scoff at socialist ideology and then turn right around and act as if we can all be winners in our business pursuits.

Think having a vision for a non-profit is all puppies and rainbows? Well, try convincing people to donate to your cause and not some other one. Because if you can’t, then your non-profit cause loses funding, and you become a non-prophet to your cause. Sorry.

If you’re starting a coaching business and I ask you who your competitors are and you say, “Oh I don’t know. I don’t really have any competitors. We all kind of work together and help each other. We’re friends,” then you’re dead in the water. (Note: I'm the one who said that when I started coaching. Hence, me not having any clients back then.)

Friends can be competitors, but they don’t have to be enemies. You can team up with them at times, you can send business their way at times, you should always be a decent human being, but in the end a prospective client has to pick you over someone else. If you don’t know what differentiates you from your competition, how will they?

Not Everyone Gets A Trophy

You play to win. Period. Life cannot grace you with a victory simply because you played, but you have to play to win the game.

Why do we choose to act like losing in sports or business doesn’t matter sometimes? For the same reason we are afraid to really commit in a relationship. Because we think that if we love less (or care less) then it won’t hurt as bad if it doesn’t work out.

Fuck. That.

Whatever you commit to in life, commit such that if you “lose,” it will hurt like hell. It should hurt though, because losing sucks.

You Don’t Have To Be A Jerk To Be Competitive

There’s a huge difference between learning to put a loss behind you and not caring about losing. For as gracious and classy in defeat people like Derek Jeter, Pat Summit and Roger Federer are, do you not think that their insides are charred when they lose?

If you got shelled like a Pacific atoll in WWII every time you took the mound as a pitcher and then said to yourself, “Eh, I don’t care. It’s doesn’t bother me,” … then you won’t be pitching for much longer.

If you got shunned like a Biblical leper every time you pitched a new client and all you had to say for yourself was, "It doesn't matter. I tried,"...then you won't have a business for much longer.

There is a misconception going on where people think that if you’re mindful, empathetic, friendly, and take other people’s point of view into consideration, it makes you soft and unable to be as successful as you want to be.

That’s BS. Mindfulness doesn’t make you soft. Not caring about the crappy result you just got is what makes you soft.

Phil Jackson is famous for being the Zen Master as a basketball coach, but if you believe for one second that Phil thought losing was OK, then you have lost your mind.

Then Change And Do Something Else

I’ll end with a quote from Lou Presutti. He’s the guy who created Dream Park in Cooperstown, NY, a heaven for baseball players. The article is a great one but this quote is what sparked this post. He was speaking to a baseball team of young teenagers who just lost the championship game:

"Listen, I hear everybody always say, 'Hey, it's OK, it's all right (to lose).' Well, it's not OK, and it's not all right when you don't achieve your goal. And right now, all that pain you have in your heart, all those tears that are coming down your faces -- you're supposed to feel that way. Because winners hurt and champions feel pain when they don't attain their goal. Anything in your life you do, if you have a goal and you don't get to that finish line, you better feel exactly the way you feel right now. If you don't, then change and do something else." Then change and do something else. Damn, that's sobering for all of us. Losing is inevitable, but it doesn't mean we have to like it. To succeed, our job is to figure what we do after we've been stung. How Do You Bounce Back After A Loss?


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