How to Overcome the Fear of Losing

How to Overcome the Fear of Losing

Many people often worry about losing, falling down, embarrassment, losing face, being considered weak.

Have you ever thought that losing could be more gratifying than winning? You don’t agree? I understand, it’s pretty hard to imagine, let alone understand.

Here’s an article I wrote that helps you understand the importance of why we need to embrace our failures.

Overcoming the fear of losing

The fear of losing, boy o boy o boy… man I remember there were times that even the mere thought of losing in any shape or form would basically make my world crumble. It’s not a nice way to live and I can assure you that it’s not healthy for the mind or soul.

Especially when you live in a competitive world where most people only care for ‘winners’.  Did you realize that many of us were brainwashed with this mentality since childhood?

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Being number one in all areas of life…succeeding, getting the best vote, the best girl, the best car, the best job…. The list goes on and on… especially when it comes to martial arts. Most of the world will consider your knowledge ONLY if you are considered a good fighter.

I know I know, you’re probably thinking that being a winner is the only way to get ahead in life! But believe me it’s not! Don’t crave this state of gratification….it can and is VERY dangerous….

Got you interested? Good! Well then read on.

Now let’s take a look at the upside and downside to winning and losing. For example you could be a local tennis player, and you’ve won all the major tournaments in your neighborhood.

You’ve got an A track record, 120 matches and never lost a title. Admirable right?

Everybody admires you?

Winning feels great doesn’t it?

Look at all the fringe benefits, a local hero is forever remembered, people smile at you on the street, the local butcher gives you a better discount, and your mechanic gives you a better deal than what he does with other clients.

Dating!!! it’s a game…what a breeze! Being a winner honestly is one of the best feelings that anyone could ever imagine, and believe it or not, many a time you take this feeling wherever you go and into other areas of your personal life.

So please don’t misunderstand, I’m not against winning and not trying to justify my failures by creating a self gratifying philosophy. There is nothing wrong with being a winner, it also gives you a sense of power and security, but remember… winning is only one side of the coin.

Now the problem is (that is if you see it as a problem) your attitude as a winner extends on many levels….. in school, study, university, college, relationships, work environment, other sporting associations you name it, the list goes on and on.

I’m sure you read the newspapers about substances are lurking around in the black market to enhance peak performance levels in order to obtain maximum results. Basically there are people literally killing themselves in order to be the best. For many, failure is not an option.

How are marital arts related to this subject?

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Well I have this habit of using myself for the purposes of this article. I feel it’s only fair. I don’t see why I should go bad mouthing or criticizing other people when I can literally kick my own ass publicly. I could write five novels as thick as Lord of the Rings on all my failures.

Well up until a few years ago, and being an avid martial artist, I had a fairly crazy attitude towards the lifestyle I was living. I was (and still am to some extent) heavily involved with martial arts and the way I prepared myself physically. For me it was really important to be the top practitioner of the style I taught. For myself, it meant that by being the best physically, technically, and even on a fighting level I would train with what I considered to be the most intensity.

I had this crazy obsession about wanting to be the best local street fighter and I was convinced that if I was considered the best, then I would have a huge following at my martial arts school.

I can assure you that this desire had affected my social life, my work life as a bouncer, and it was destroying my relationship with my wife.

What are the advantages of being successful?

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The advantage of being successful and having the reputation of a hard hitter in the security sector was a huge psychological advantage.

Nowadays when I look back at my arrogance, how I would destroy anyone who stepped in my way, it gave me a lot of successes. However I made a hell of  a lot of enemies….

As I started to grow wiser I had the great fortune of training and started to listen to knowledgeable masters. These masters were beyond the level of fighting and they certainly knew how to communicate with me through a great internal teaching method.

They taught me to analyse myself and where my energy was taking me. It was very revealing and it really helped me wake up. My teachings were leading me to an internal awareness and awakening. All I can say is that when I started to finally understand I was on a self destructive path I really made a definite change for the better.

And trust me I’m very lucky because my arrogance led me to a close to fatal encounter whereby I was attacked by 3 men with clubs…. I don’t know how the hell I survived and how I managed to ward them off… I still have the scar on my head with nine stitches as a reminder…… I feel lucky to be alive.

To be honest, I am sharing this story with you in case you ever delude yourself into taking a similar path or you’re convinced you have to prove yourself to the world when really it’s not necessary…really…it’s not necessary.. just trust me.

I wish to thank the people who truly cared for me and saw me as a being who could offer more than just succeeding through violence.

Let’s look at dealing with pressure and trying to be the best in my field. You know what it meant? It meant I could never afford to lose, I could never be second, I would never accept defeat.

If anybody ever tried to test me out, well then, he would have more than what he bargained for.  If I lost, I knew my reputation would be at stake, and I would more than likely lose a high paying job as a bouncer.

I knew I would lose face with my students in my school… so financially I even felt I was at risk there. Really, being the best meant that I would do whatever it took to win. I can tell you that with this attitude hurt a lot of people emotionally and physically…

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I was not a nice person to hang around with. I can also confess that after years of living this way, I realized I was not even being myself, that I was living up to the image other people had conceived. Not only was I unpopular,  I also lived with a very high level of aggression. I’m amazed I still have certain students who put up with me in all these years and to this day are still part of my school and very dear friends.

I remember my inspiration of developing this Mr. Invincible attitude came from two sources:

As a lad I was terribly insecure of myself.

I took an ideal from a certain martial artist who was known to be a formidable street fighter and that had won several hundred street confrontations without EVER LOSING.

It seemed like this guy had everything, he had plenty of students, made a lot of cash, had beautiful women, great cars, and enjoyed the luxury of being on TV films, and mixed with movie stars.

Maybe you think I’m jealous? No!!!

I am not in any way criticizing his choice of lifestyle. But I am always referring to look at myself. This conversation is about me…and you the reader… I was analyzing my weaknesses of not being true to myself…

Never losing, it sounds great but… is it?

Tell me something, do you really learn when you only win? Think about it. Now look at something else, when you only win in life what happens to you when you lose? Honestly, what happens?

Did you know that there are people out there that commit suicide not knowing how to deal with failure? Do you think it’s only about winning? I mean what does winning really mean any way?

There is an old warrior’s code that talks about losing. It goes something like this…

‘The true warrior knows how to fall down seven times, but I assure you he will always get up on the eighth’

You know people need to stop fearing failing or losing, the most important thing is to always keep trying, to accept that falling and losing is part of the cycle and that you need to learn from your mistakes. It is imperative you learn that your failings are like a treasure map to lead you onto the right path. In reality we need to understand and embrace the concept of failure.

Failing and falling are the same as winning, they both have rewards to offer, to be complete in life is fundamental you understand the importance of losing and all it has to teach you.

If you don’t fail then HOW will you ever learn? In any venture you plan out in your life (I don’t know, maybe starting up a business) you should always put into the equation that you’re going to stumble, you’re going to fall.

There was a period where I was having a lot of success and I remember one of my teachers saying to me ‘wow I noticed in your work environment (security) that everyone is friendly with you, they seem to respect you’. I agreed with him and I’ll add that I was very proud of this fact. He said ‘yep, very nice people, but it’s a shame that none of these that I have seen are your real friends’ …

I was shocked and I assured him that they were always friendly with me and we had a mutual respect for each other. He then proceeded telling me things I did not like, he said that they only respected my talents but not me as a person, they feared me and not respected me, so he assured me that I was very much alone.

Not a nice thing to say to someone who had worked hard to train himself physically, to be successful and to try to be the best at what he does. I guess at the time I was missing the point, and I actually thought for years he was a firkin jerk….

I never realized that my path of success had turned me into a public figure of violence. In order to succeed, it cost me a lot. People sometimes are so obsessed with their ambitions that they don’t even realize the trail of disaster they leave behind.

How does one go about change?

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If you are going to change your path I would advise you to be well guided. Find someone to help you understand how to control your outlook on life internally and externally. See the affects on your actions have on society and seriously look at your progress.

When I say progress I don’t mean just how much success or money you are making, but the after effects and how you interact with people around you. There are highly successful people out there who have not allowed their winnings to go to their head. They still remain humble and down to earth every day people.

You know life is always going to deliver some heavy blows and you’re not always going to be prepared to handle it as you’d like.  Despite the sense of losing, a feeling I know most of us would like to avoid….it is necessary to their growth.

Final Thoughts

My advice to you is this, take it easy on yourself. Whenever you are planning anything you want to be successful with then learn to fall my friend. Take joy in your failures and learn from them.

There is always something to learn from your failures and they make you stronger as a person. If you fall then get up!!! if you fall again, get up again!!! just never give up!!!

I would rather learn from a successful business man who has failed in other business attempts and can help me learn from his failings, rather than from a man who doesn’t know what failure means.

It’s your right not to agree with what I am saying but I feel it’s important not to build a mindset around a mentality that doesn’t prepare you for the hardships in life.

Your mistakes could be used to guide someone else you care for making better choices in his or her life. Believe me it’s not as drastic as it sounds. When you start looking at failures as a success then you are well on your way to always being a winner.

All the best

Sifu Fernandez


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