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How To Be An Effective Loser

One of the unique things about HR is our exposure to a lot of losers.

Hold on now, let me pull that back. I already started this post in the hole. I am going to have to dig myself out and quick before you go off to other posts that praise everything you do!

Being a loser holds a bad conotation in many people’s heads. Nobody wants to be a loser. Nobody. People don’t aspire to be losers. And if they are currently a loser, nobody ever wants to admit it. But I don’t think being a loser is as bad as people make it out to be. It is a temporary state. Being a winner is a temporary state too but it feels better so less people examine or care about it. That’s why this post isn’t about winners. Who gives a damn about winners? If you can’t figure out how to be effective as a winner, too bad. My first experience as a loser was pretty vivid:

I was in the fifth grade and I was in love with the girl next door. It was so cliche but I didn’t even know what that word meant. It also wasn’t actual love but some sort of combination of hormones and the trance of my future Scandinavian love princess. Like most boys my age, I had no idea how to talk to girls or what they were even interested in so when I invited her to a baseball game and she said no, you’ll have to forgive my ignorance. She wasn’t interested in watching professional baseball, much less a bunch of pre-teens striking out and missing catches.

After several other tries to woo her with invitations to ride bikes or play tag, I got the message from her un-love-princess, non-Scandinavian friend: she doesn’t like you and you’re a gross boy anyway so ewww.

I was bummed but I didn’t know what about. We didn’t have any good times together, I couldn’t even talk to her and she didn’t want to hang out with me. I was bummed because I was a loser, at least in the eyes of a couple stupid girls.

The moral of the story is that not much changes about being a loser from that point forward in your life. The fact that winning at various sports events, being on the right side of the debate or tricking marrying a great woman is just as important, somehow vivid memories are created at those points in our life when we are the loser. And if you’ve been turned down for a job, been reprimanded, been a low performer or quit/got fired from a job, HR has been there.

How do people deal with being a loser effectively? Let’s take a look:

  1. Everybody loses — Everybody. So get over being the loser. Everyone on this planet has been in your spot before and they have managed to pick themselves up and win again.
  2. Winning is just as temporary as losing — Abraham Lincoln said victory is short lived. When you get that new job, a bad performance review, a layoff or a bad environment can take you off of your victory lap and into losers lane.
  3. Have a short memory — Do you remember who came in fourth in the 100 meters at the Olympics? I rarely remember people that have not been hired so stop dwelling on them like a Scandinavian love princess. People remember when you win, you should do the same.
  4. Be a good loser — You don’t like winning? Neither does anyone else. Be gracious when you have been beaten and fight the fight the next day. And remember the feeling the next time you win so you have compassion for people who loses.
  5. Do something about it — If you can’t get over being a loser, then it will never change. Pick yourself up and try again. And if you lose, you’re not in any worse shape and at least you tried.

Is there anything you would add to this list?

By Lance Haun

Strategy for The Starr Conspiracy. Former HR pro. Portland guy (Go Blazers!) and WSU alum (Go Cougs!). I get to write about what I want here.

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