Winners and Losers- What's the Difference?
Watching the news coverage after our British election, the expression used several times was 'the winners are looking like losers and the losers are behaving like winners'. It sounded like a line from a song (Abba's Waterloo?) and I contemplated the meaning of winning and losing.
Two people might take an exam, and get the same result, 7/10. For one that might seem like a huge success and for the other a big failure. The fact they both took the exam and the 7/10 score is not in dispute. But who is right, is this a success or a failure?
You could say it depends on the context- one could have studied really hard and achieved success against the odds. The other might have done nothing to prepare and more was expected of them, so they were considered to have failed.
If we were the one who succeeded, we would be feeling good about our achievements and confident about our next exam. If we were the one labelled a failure, we would be experiencing disappointment and possibility anxiety when we contemplated our next exam.
That might lead us to adopt Positive Thinking where we edit out references to failure. We might re-name it 'in need of improvement', view it as a learning experience and focus on doing exams differently in the future.
It is unlikely that the negative thoughts will obediently make way for the new positive ones so this means vigilantly monitoring our thoughts and consciously replacing them. When we set ourselves up to oppose one set of thinking with another, we are on a path of more layers of thinking and more struggle.
But what it we were to see both judgments, success and failure, are simply our thoughts? They produced by our mental processes helping us to interpret what is happening around us. We might have drawn on our past experiences and things others have told us, never the less, they are our stories. They look real to us, we treat them as fact, but actually they have the potential to change in an instant.
We could decide we will consciously change those stories. In my experience this takes a little less effort than Positive Thinking but it is still based on the assumption that we need to fix our bad thinking. When we recognise they are our stories, we are free to let them be. We are no longer pushing them away, we have done nothing wrong. We know we are free to give our thinking our full attention, or not. To act on our thoughts, or not. And when we let our thoughts be present, sooner or later, they move on and we have a fresh new thought experience.
I'd love to hear your experiences below and, if you'd like to explore how these practices could help you, do get in touch by clicking on the envelope symbol.