Defeat is a thing with which no one likes to be faced. It is a great big L that stands dauntingly tall in front of us all when we thought we were going to get the W. Yet, we all get defeated at some point in our lives. No one goes unscathed from its searing presence. The problem is that we almost always give into defeat before it is inevitable. Whenever I turn and see that defeat is coming, I have a tendency to lie down and let it come.
This isn’t how we’re supposed to react, however. We aren’t supposed to simply freak out and stop what we’re doing. The fetal position only makes defeat come faster. Action is better at routing defeat than inaction. Defeat doesn’t have to be inevitable, nor does it have to be permanent. A friend recently told me that he doesn’t draw because of criticism that he received as a child. To him, that defeat was fatal to his artistic dreams and now he has to search out others to fulfill his visions.
When I was a child I too felt defeat. Mine was at a writing contest. I would like to say that I put in my greatest effort and completely failed, but that’s not what happened. I just felt as though that had happened. In point of fact, I placed as first runner up. I was devastated because I thought I had lost. I choked back tears as I read my short story about my dog Rags in the middle of the mall at the awards ceremony. I stopped writing after that for at least a year. It was a stupid reaction to what could barely be classified as defeat. It felt so big to me in the moment I didn’t realize how small a thing it truly was. Defeat is a matter of perspective, one we need to keep in check. If we don’t, we find ourselves facing it even when we win.