Day 218: The Win/Lose Dance

August 6th, 2010

“Those who know how to win are much more numerous than those who know how to make proper use of their victories” -Polybius (Greek statesman, 200-118 BC)

For a long time I believed that winning and losing were opposites. In the past few months since the biggest win in my career, I have come to see how, like a yin yang symbol, they live not only side by side but within each other. Sometimes losing takes incredible courage and grace to go on and try again. Sometimes the distinction between winning and losing is incomprehensible; like in the recent tennis match that went for 10 hours and, in the final analysis, was a two game difference. Sometimes winning requires you to give up the game you knew before, because you have reached a new level.

I am suffering an odd sense of loss since winning a recent investment conference. In winning the investment, I also won a seasoned and talented CEO. In addition to him, or maybe because of him, there are more gifted and intelligent people than ever committed to the success of Good Clean Love and our collective success feels within reach. Still, ceding the responsibilities and roles that have gotten me to this point is more difficult than I imagined. Long a follower of identifying myself through what I do, it is requiring a new way to think.

Winning is expanding. It requires you to grow more inclusive and less independent. Even the most singular successful athletes become more successful as the input and energy of other healers, trainers and team mates help us to achieve even more than we imagined for ourselves. The metaphor holds true for business wins as well. Winning creates the space for more people to get excited and contribute. This is organic success, viral marketing at its deepest and the path that makes a brand a household name. Success makes bigger and bigger circles that have the space to include more and more people.

The dance between winning and losing is fluid, not only because most lives flow between these outcomes but also because they both include some of the other. Buddhist training in equanimity is based on the recognition of the changing nature of circumstances and situation outcomes with the goal of cultivating the patience and wider view of life, which trains our perception to recognize both wins and losses in life as equally useful teachers.

Honoring the yin and yang of our changing situation is one way of learning how to make proper use of our victories. Letting go and losing control can be what winning looks like. Learning how to win and lose with balance is the point of the game of life. As we grow our integrity and inner strength, it gets easier to give up the labels of good and bad and even win and lose. The true victory of being able to stand and hold ourselves in the midst of all the winds of change, with decreasing judgment and increasing peace is perhaps the only real win we can aspire to. It simultaneously awards and demands the courage to keep moving forward , with an ever-widening heart to appreciate the game for what it is.

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