If you’ve played competitive sports, you’ve undoubtedly experienced the “thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” In sports, as in life, winning is euphoric – it’s a state of mind that not only elevates your sense of confidence, but perhaps more importantly, its a stimulant that simply makes you feel better about yourself. To the most competitive of athletes, “winning is probably the single most important thing shaping their lives.” as professor Ian Robertson, of Trinity College in Dublin explains – Its everything or nothing. Still, as much as we love winning, we hate losing even more.
Losing hurts – both your psyche and your ego. Think back to the last time you were on the losing end of an important game or deal – chances are you felt deflated, inadequate or even powerless. It’s an awful feeling hardly worth remembering, still it’s precisely what you’ll need to get better. In their bestselling book – Top Dog: The Science of Winning and Losing – Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman make the convincing argument that the difference between an elite competitor and an average one is their ability to control their psychological state, which has a direct impact on your underlying physiology. ‘If you can control your fear, then you can control your biology, too.’ Still the secret weapon is how you learn to compete when it matters most.