Monday column: Learn more from defeat not victory

Opinion Sunday 03/March/2024 17:08 PM
By: Saleh Al-Shaibany
Monday column: Learn more from defeat not victory

You cannot win if you have not learned from defeat and that is an essential fact of life whether you like it or not.

Defeat is unavoidable and the quicker we accept it the better we stay away from stress. However, instead of letting every defeat that comes our way to hurt us, then we will not move on with our lives. We will see obstacles everywhere in our paths.

It makes sense to turn a defeat into a victory and it does not need to be a struggle. All we need is to analyse every step we took in the past and learn from it. When I was a child, I recalled a farmer who had his storage building broken after heavy rains.

He did not waste time crying over it. He sold the wood, steel columns and everything else that was not washed away to a second hand dealer. That way, he raised enough money to build another shed in no time. He quickly turned a disaster into a victory without wasting his time complaining about it. He quickly moved on with his life and make something from a bad situation.

I guess people like him have strong mental fitness. They deal with negativity the moment they see problems. But he is not the only one who inspired me to deal with temporary defeats. When I had nothing better to do a few years ago, I was watching a bird who could not fly straight where I was sitting one afternoon.

I realised that it had a broken wing. It was trying to get into its nest up a tree where its hungry babies were waiting. How it got up there was sheer inspiring. It flew from one branch to another and rest in between until it got to the nest. It took the bird about half an hour but it finally got there. I felt like clapping my hands but people around me would have thought I was going crazy.

If birds could demonstrate mental strength and get things done against all odds, then we can. I often say to younger people that it is not the muscles in our arms that work for us, but the power of our minds. My old uncle used to joke that scratching our heads is one way of exercising the muscles in our minds.  Maybe it does not work but it is one way of taking a break somewhere quiet to think how we can turn defeat into a victory.

 But turning a defeat into victory needs discipline and a willpower not to give up easily on our goals. We have to make sure that we understand defeat is not failure. It is just a hiccup in our routine. Last week, one of a young job seeker told me he was depressed because he could not find a job. He was rejected a few times. I told him to have a target to visit three workplaces a day and send his CV.

He did a mental calculation and said,” that is 90 times a month.”

I quickly answered him to have a target of 270 times. He did another quick calculation and said,” that is three months continuously.”

First, he did not get it then he smiled. He realised he should not give up and keep trying until the victory day comes when he gets accepted for a job. He learned that persistence eventually is the road to victory.