How to deal with defeat

Last night, our men in black suffered one of our most significant loses in over a decade. While the sun’s out and shining this Labour Weekend, many people are still struggling with our heroes’ defeat.

So, how do we cope with defeat? The stats around the world are terrible, and there’s a well-known global link between local teams losing and increased levels of domestic violence. It’s unacceptable, cowardly and irrational behaviour. 

In New Zealand, our men in black are a social barometer for how we feel; our sense of Kiwi pride and, to many, part of our national heartbeat. Bearing this in mind, how do we stop the downward spiral and pick ourselves up from defeat? 

  1. Don’t patronise. Don’t minimise someone’s pain, don’t say it’s “just a sport”. It’s actually not. It’s someone’s career, their hard work, their blood, sweat and tears… their dream. So please erase that phrase, promptly – have a little empathy!
  2. Defeat brings opportunity. In defeat, we have the opportunity recognise our greatest weaknesses but also our greatest strengths. Take this moment to assess what can be learnt from this defeat. 
  3. Manage your state of mind. It’s mind over matter. While a defeat might feel permanent, it never is. Those who know how to manage themselves through defeat will understand that this is a temporary setback, and that to win your state of mind must rapidly improve. Stand up and be counted on. 
  4. Be humble. The basics are imperative, earnestly congratulate the winner. Display sportsmanship, and don’t make excuses. Accept that this outcome, while disappointing, doesn’t last forever. 

    Lastly, and most importantly…
  5. NEVER use a defeat as an excuse for unacceptable behaviour. Ever.

Most importantly, through all of this, show kindness, empathy and understanding. Stand next to our boys who worked hard to be where they were last night and who simply couldn’t deliver on our shared goal. Be generous to the victor and ultimately remember that from our greatest defeats, our most significant lessons are always learned. 

After all, there’s always 2023…