I hate to lose.
I mean, I really hate to lose. At anything.
And my most hated way of losing is when I actively screwed up despite knowing better, and did not do everything I could to win.
Yet, as time passes, I start to see some value in defeat. Oh, not in the defeat itself. No, no, no. A hatred of losing and love of winning is healthy and good. The opposite is disastrously bad.
But on the occasions when defeat has its way, there is probably some value to be had in it.
You know, when you're in a sad, low, and defeated mood, your chest gets kind of tight, your mouth dry and tasting of acid.
It is, objectively, unpleasant.
Yet after I get done kicking and stomping my feet and calm down, I've found you can almost appreciate the taste of defeat like a particularly acidic wine.
I quit drinking a little more than five years ago, so I don't get to experience the bitter, slightly poisonous slightly cloudy mentality from a strongly acidic wine... but there is something to it, y'know?
And thinking just like that, the defeated feeling gives way to reflectiveness, which is infinitely healthier and more positive than despair. Yes, perhaps these are lessons here. Ah, now I can scale my arrogance back, and not be defeated in larger measures at a later time. It's not good that this error was made, but I am still at a point where I can recover from it - much better now than when an entire empire would crumble later.
And I think that's it -
Perspective can transform how you're feeling. Sadness gives way to reflection, defeat gives way to recovery and rebuilding, anger gives way to determination.
The worst of the emotions are rare, and the positive emotions are heightened afterwards from the contrast. A certain perspective - enjoying the acidity of defeat like a glass of wine, or savoring sadness for a moment for its rarity, or harnessing the adrenalin rush from anger into something productive - this perspective makes even the most debilitating of emotions serve you dutifully.
ohhh shoot, I just realized u added this feature a couple days ago. Sorry... Please ignore my last "PS part".
So beautifully written... u know what was the other thing u wrote that really touched my heart - "Remember to be grateful for the darkness, because it shows you the stars, for sadness, because it makes happiness stand out more."
You are such a talented writer. Sometimes everyone knows about certain things; and philosophy itself is so dry. But you presented them so well. It is always good to hear your refreshing perspective. I just wish that more people could see your word at the right time of their life...
PS: Sebastian, I think you should add an "Email me if anyone replies" feature to your blog. It's kinda necessary especially if someone replies to one of your old posts, and then you might reply, but they won't remember to check back.
A lot of my heroes come from the Sengoku Warring States Era of Japanese History. Here's two quotes from Tokugawa Ieyasu, founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate:
"Life is like unto a long journey with a heavy burden. Let thy step be slow and steady, that thou stumble not. Persuade thyself that imperfection and inconvenience are the natural lot of mortals, and there will be no room for discontent, neither for despair. When ambitious desires arise in thy heart, recall the days of extremity thou has past through. Forbearance is the root of quietness and assurance forever. Look upon the wrath of the enemy. If thou knowest only what it is to conquer, and knowest not what it is like to be defeated, woe unto thee; it will fare ill with thee. Find fault with thyself rather than with others."
"The strong manly ones in life are those who understand the meaning of the word patience. Patience means restraining one's inclinations. There are seven emotions: joy, anger, anxiety, adoration, grief, fear, and hate, and if a man does not give way to these he can be called patient. I am not as strong as I might be, but I have long known and practiced patience. And if my descendants wish to be as I am, they must study patience."
I think in the big picture, patience is the way forwards, the way to win. You take small actions each day towards getting what you want. But, I think it's critical to guard your time from nuisances and distractions. In micro, on the minute by minute level, I think being impatient is the better way - look to fill dead time with learning, dispense with formality and bureaucracy as quickly as possible, talk about things that matter instead of smalltalk and pleasantries, break away from organizations and people that don't respect your time. In macro, in the big picture, patience and steadiness is the way. In micro, on a day to day level, impatience is the way.
"Why are you making me eat so much food? Aren't I trying to lose weight?"
That's essentially the question that someone asked in my Minimum Viable Fitness training group. More specifically, he felt silly stuffing his face every day with ice cream and the like on a program focused on fat loss. He wanted to know if he could just have minimum numbers of fat, protein, and carbohydrates, then eat until satiety.
Here's my candid response to him. I apologize for typos and whatnot... I did not intend on turning this into a blog post.
I'll explain my reasoning as to why I'm grinning maniacally while everyone has tummy aches from feeling too full. Please read in full.