Learning From Loss (Even Losses That Aren’t My Own)

It’s an empty feeling. The Green Bay Packers were 15-1 in 2011’s regular season. They were pretty close to prohibitive favorites to be Super Bowl repeat winners.

But it was not to be.

Those of you who are not sports fans may find it difficult to empathize or understand. But sports are an incredible reflection of life. I have always said that they are the ultimate reality TV:

  • You can’t predict it
  • It happens in real time
  • There is actual (not feigned) emotion
  • Games have a real impact on economy, media, and people’s lives

Subsequently, I probably put way too much stock and emotion into games in which “my teams” are playing. So after this evening’s Packers loss to the Giants I’m feeling sad, down, and empty. I’d like to tell you it will go away, but I still resent the Denver Broncos for defeating the Green Bay Packers in the 1998 Super Bowl. And, yes, I still resent the St. Louis Cardinals for defeating the Milwaukee Brewers in the 1982 World Series (thus, it was torture for me that the Cardinals defeated the Milwaukee Brewers once again on their way to winning the 2011 World Series).

As much as I don’t like the outcome of today’s Packers/Giants game, it adds variety, interest, and spice to life.

So I have to cope with the loss. It teaches me that I have to cope with real life disappointments. Life is not perfect. It will not always go as I have planned. It will not always include wins and triumphs. Life has ups and downs.

But just like the Green Bay Packers now have to push forward, set new goals, and look to next year, so I must often do the same. When life’s losses come along in my life it is not the end. There is still tomorrow. There is still next month and next year.

As long as I am given life and breath I know that I have purpose to carry on and fulfill my calling. I have been endowed with gifts, talents, and abilities to do the things set before me…and sometimes even more than I think I can do.

A loss is a learning experience. I have to remember that. It teaches me to avoid things that have caused my failures and losses. It teaches me the things that have brought about failure.

I may not ever actually get over a loss, but it can give me motivation, incentive, and inspiration to improve, progress, and develop. I feel empty because of today’s Packers loss. I can only imagine how the players feel (sometimes I think they don’t care as much as fans do…but that’s another story). But hard as it may be, I will try to move on and be stronger.

How do failures and losses give you motivation and incentive to improve and get better?


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4 thoughts on “Learning From Loss (Even Losses That Aren’t My Own)

  1. Good points.

    It really comes down to a matter of focus. If the loss or setback we've experienced came in the course of truly doing something for God and his glory, then we'll better be able to understand that he is ultimately responsible for outcomes, and he will be glorified regardless of the "success" (or lack therefore) we might experience. If, however, what we're *really* focused upon is ourselves and our glory, then setbacks and losses can be personally devastating.

  2. i think the loss of people speaks the loudest… teaches the most, and has the most power to transform our lives once they are gone. the promise of heaven gives us the hope that we will see them again.

    this week a friend of mine lost her best friend… to suicide… as she tries to navigate her pain at the loss i can only encourage her that the pain validates the truth of the love.

    that's, to me, what loss equals. pain… which means there was love there to begin with. yay.