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Congratulations on Being such a Loser, Loser!

posted May 12, 2017, 7:42 PM by Eric Banks

“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”

-Thomas A. Edison

Raise your hand if you’ve ever failed or made a mistake, or been wrong when you believed without a doubt that you were absolutely right.  How did you feel when you found out you were wrong, or perhaps worse, when someone proved you wrong?  Not so great, probably.  Certainly, the feelings associated with making a mistake can be much more uncomfortable and long lasting than the actual mistake itself. 

Yeah, it sucks when you feel like you suck, and it can suck for a while.

But what if being wrong is a good thing?  What if the mistake itself, and the emotions, the fear, the embarrassment, the shame, the dread, the sadness you feel when you make a mistake or are wrong, can be used to make you better and “righter”?  What if making mistakes is the path to finding success?

We’ve all tried and failed at something, this is fact, but do you personally know anyone who has failed thousands of times, but kept trying, and eventually succeeded?  I don’t.  People who keep trying and trying and trying tend to succeeded not because they failed so much, but because they were willing to fail, and, they learned something important from each failure.

That’s the secret right there: willingness to fail, eagerness to learn from each and every failure.

Until recently, I dreaded making mistakes, but have, finally entered a place where I almost welcome failure.  Almost.  While I know that unless the failure is fatal, I’m going to learn and grow and I’ll figure out how to win, I still have to be conscious of the fear of failure that might hold me back and keep me from even trying.

For example, the fear that my kata or kihon or kumite, or teaching, or writing, will be technically incorrect or simply subpar has greatly diminished and I find that I am able to upgrade my technique much faster by experimenting, being open, and staying willing to learn whatever I can learn from whatever the outcome of my experimental exploration may be.  In this way, there is no failure, just lots of figuring out “ways that won’t work” as I move closer and closer to ways that do work.

 As I’ve been researching, developing, and teaching what I call “flow kakie” partner drill, I’ve been emphasizing the principle of losing, of gettin’ hit, so you can win.  It’s counterintuitive to most, and therefore quite challenging, but once we accept our partner’s state of being, their energy, and their technique, and relax into it, without the need to defeat them or show them up, the ability to adapt, blend, and harmonize is astonishing.  In this way then, we are no longer fighting our opponent, or ourselves, more importantly, and yet, we find ways to win in the losing, by giving up brute force in favor of cultivating a deeper, more subtle power.

But nobody wants to be a loser; we’re all taught to win, at any cost sometimes, yes?  Or maybe it’s not taught but ingrained and genetic, the whole survival of the fittest / strongest / wiliest / most determined thing.  Either way, maybe it’s time to try a new path.

Now, I’m not saying to go out and give 50% and get beat up just so you can lose.  No way; remember, the magic isn’t in the losing, it’s in the heart and mind that honestly gives 100%, loses, learns from the failure and takes that wisdom and either tries again, or finds a new and better approach.  

Lather, rinse, repeat…

I’m also not saying that losing, failing, making mistakes won’t sting, or hurt, ‘cause they’re probably still gonna, and sometimes a lot.  What I am suggesting is that, if we want to reach higher levels of skill and development in the art, and in life, we have to begin to adopt a new mindset and a new attitude toward winning and losing, failing and succeeding, learning and being.

Recently, I finished a very interesting book that fits quite nicely with the topic at hand, "Power vs. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior", by Dr. David Hawkins.  I heard about it a few years ago but didn’t get the opportunity to read it until one of the moms at the dojo, who was reading it while her son was training, let me borrow it when she was done.  If you’d like a deep and potentially life-affecting read, this is it.  It will upgrade your ideas on consciousness and change your beliefs of what real power is, and what real winning is all about.   

Along with “Power v. Force: The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior” two of Dr. Hawkins’ books, "Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender" and "Transcending the Levels of Consciousness: The Stairway to Enlightenment", and a Taiji book that a couple friends recommended, "There Are No Secrets: Professor Cheng Man Ch'ing and His T'ai Chi Chuan" that also just happens to discuss investing in loosing, have been added to my Amazon list.    I can hardly wait to dive into them.

So, are you ready to win, ready to succeed?  Then get out there, do your thing, and be a great, big, loser.



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