A Tale of Two Losers: Learning From Loss

by Gary Gwilliam on October 28, 2009

danceCourtesy Fox.com

Dealing with our losses can be very difficult. I have been talking about how we deal with our losses for some time now. I recently saw on T.V. a very interesting contrast of how two young men dealt with very public losses and rejections.

I am a fan of the T.V. program “So You Think You Can Dance”. There are some terrific young dancers who compete to be the best dancer in America on the program. They are currently trying to reach the top twenty that will then perform on the program over the next few months.

The program interviews some of the dancers after they have been cut from the program. Many of them show a great deal of emotion, but two men who were cut from the program had dramatic opposite ways of dealing with those losses.

How Not to Deal With Loss

The first man was a very talented dancer who was completely convinced that he would make the top twenty. However, he didn’t do very well in his audition and when he was told he was cut by the judges, he collapsed with tears of anger and frustration.

In a short interview while leaving the building, he continued to express anger, frustration and disbelief. His firmly held expectations that he would make the top twenty hadn’t been met. His reaction to his loss was one of immaturity and blame of others.

Grace Under Pressure

On the other hand, another young dancer was cut and his response was markedly different. His first comment was, “well things happen for a reason and I have to accept this decision”. I am sure he felt as strongly about being cut from the loss as the other young man, but his reaction showed a much deeper sense of self-confidence, self-esteem, and spiritual and self-understanding. His wife was one of the other dancers. She gave him a big hug and she was in tears over his rejection by the program. Once again, he simply responded, “I know that all things happen for a reason and I will accept this decision and move on with my life.”

All Things Happen For a Reason: Learning From Loss

These were two very visible and public examples of how young people deal with their failed expectations and losses. The second young man was right on point. All things do happen for a reason and when we understand that and accept it, all of our losses become much easier to bear. We can learn valuable lessons from them, instead of letting them control us. We must learn from our losses.

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