When I was a swimmer in high school I was blessed to train for a world class coach. Coach Block trained us hard 20 hours a week, 42 weeks a year. Long after my swimming career ended our weekly mental training sessions continue to influence how I perform. Here is a lesson straight from my log book:
As pressure mounts there is such a tendency to avoid losing. To avoid this, I thought I might present you with some sure-fire, and not-so-sure-fire, ways to avoid losing.
1) Don’t play. Clearly the surest-fire way to avoid defeat.
2) Don’t try. If you don’t try, you might not win. But you can always say you would have won if you tried.
3) Wreck the game. If you totally wreck the game there can be no winner, but you can’t lose. Even if you don’t succeed in totally wrecking the game, but at least succeed in taking away the value of the contest, people will be less likely to notice whether you won or lost; and if by chance they do notice, they probably won’t care.
4) Create problems. This is one way to wreck the game. If you create enough of a problem, someone might stop the game. At the very least, if you are enough of a problem, then you will be removed from the game. If you are not playing, you can’t lose. And, as a bonus, you get to say that you would have won if you had been permitted to stay in the game.
5) Don’t play the entire game. If you never play the whole game, you can always say you would have won if you had played. And if you are real lucky, the game will never get completed. Then you can’t lose.
6) Prearrange to have an excuse. If you miss practice, get sick, lose your equipment, or set up some other insurmountable obstacle; no one can expect you to win, blame you for losing, or think less of you when you do.
7) De-emphasize the contest. If this particular game doesn’t really count, then neither does losing it. You’re safe. If you don’t care about this one, you can’t really lose; because if you cared you would have prepared differently, tried harder, and surely won.
8 ) Keep others from winning. The least you can do is keep others around you from winning. In that way, if you don’t win, you won’t look so bad in contrast. Drag others down. Put others down. Keep others down. Do all you can to prevent them from winning.
9) Play the nice guy. If you are nice enough no one will tell anyone (including you) that you lost. Then you never have to deal with it.
The original author of these 10 ways to avoid losing is unknown.
Are you ever tempted to avoid losing like this?