Sometimes we win by losing

RAY BATES @Saltwirenetwork



SaltWire Network

Truro News Opinion

In most contests, regardless if it be sports related, political in nature or employment positioning, many of us have been conditioned to believe the only acceptable goal is to win, to come out as the top dog. What about the losers - be they groups or individuals - who are not number one? How should they react? What should they do? Two recent “contests” brought today’s subject to my attention. The first was the recent consolidation vote by Antigonish town and county councils for their municipalities to accept that proposal. As stated in The Casket, (Nov. 2): “To loud jeers and boos, Antigonish town and county councils both narrowly voted to accept a process that will see them become one municipality.” Because of that vote, who were the winners or losers? What can be done by both camps to make the results palatable? The second contest consisted of many sub-contests: the United States’ Nov. 8 midterm elections. As of today, Nov. 16, the final results of all of the US midterms’ matches are still not decided. As projected by Opensecrets, a non-profit watchdog, the estimated total costs of state and federal elections in this electoral (contests) cycle will exceed US $16.7 billion. How will the “losers” react and what will be the actions of those who financed that massive amount of money only to see their candidate(s) be defeated? Therein lays one of the perplexing questions of life: what should one do when he/she loses? All contestants cannot be the winners. There will be disappointments. Throughout my 32-year educational career and life overall, I’ve had successes and losses; however, as I reflect upon my decades of living I savour all the experiences I’ve endured because they have assisted me to be who I am, live where I do and contributed to what I have achieved. One can get philosophical and use a slogan that Wikipedia expresses as follows: “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, a proverbial phrase used to encourage optimism and a positive can-do attitude in the face of adversity or misfortune. Lemons suggest sourness or difficulty in life; making lemonade is turning them into something positive or desirable.” The unfortunate example of another’s loss might be the source of one of your life’s lessons. It is easy for me to sit back in the comforts of my home and reflect on my life’s teaching points and recognize their sources. Some of those educational events were by happenstance. Some were the result of tragic events such as friends who died in car crashes or due to their self-imposed healthrelated illnesses. Some achievements can be credited to wise advice offered by others and accepted by me. Some were by sheer luck; being in the right place at the right time. A former Masstown resident, the late Harry Marsh, once told me he knows how the winner will probably react; it’s the loser’s behavior that interests him. Defeats, if they are to be called such, create opportunities for new undertakings and possibilities. An optimistic attitude is critical to moving onward. Sometimes life disappoints; our challenges are to find the positives within the negatives and work with them. What needs to be altered, changed or eliminated? Sometimes you win by losing. Whether we are winners or losers is for us to decide. Our certainties are that the sun will rise tomorrow and in spite of our loss(es) life will go on and hopefully - we will react in positive and constructive fashions. Living gives life to many hurtful events we will endure. Our challenges are to accept and learn from them and to strive to enable ourselves to be pleased with our actions. Ray Bates, a resident of Guysborough (Sedabooktook: harbour running far back), has been contributing his opinions to newspapers since 1998. raybates@