The Less You Care About Losing, The More Likely You Are To Win

Photo Source: Kitt Canaria for Jiu-Jitsu Times

People are going to read the title of this post and immediately assume that I’m saying you shouldn’t want to win.  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  But the fact remains that the less you care about losing, the more likely you are to win.

Let’s take it a step back.  Everyone that signs up to compete wants to win, usually it’s to “test yourself” and stuff like that. But no matter what your motivation for competing, you don’t pay all that money, wake up early on a Saturday morning and travel to some stuffy high school gym to lose. You go there to win.

It took me a while to realize this: I was focusing way too much on not losing.  I would go into matches and play the game my opponent wanted to play and try to avoid getting scored on, avoid getting submitted, and avoid many other things. Jiu-jitsu, at least on a sportive level, isn’t about avoidance, though.  If you play the game simply not to lose, your chances of loss go up.

On a psychological level, if you project your own fears of losing, your performance will reflect it.  When I see an opponent that is bigger and stronger looking than me, I may avoid playing my A-game if my A-game allows him to use his physicality against me.  Maybe my A-game is exactly what I need to do to beat this hulk of a man.  Maybe if I play the game I think I should play because I’m worried about losing, rather than the game I am best suited for, I will be more likely to lose?

Focus on winning.  Winners focus on it.

When you go onto the competition mat, be prepared for all outcomes; accept that there’s a possibility the other man may simply be a better grappler on that day.  Don’t stress yourself over the possibility of losing, but keep an open mind and be willing to see the opportunities to win. And there will be opportunities to win!

The mindset I go into competitions with is that my opponent will be better than me; they will be able to beat me.  I’m just there to make it annoying and confusing for them.  I then try to work backwards to a place where I can win.  At no point am I focused on the end result of inevitable loss or victory, as generally one or the other is in fact going to happen.  This is a binary system, the odds are 50% against you, and 50% for you.

Don’t focus on losing, focus on winning.

The more you focus on losing the more nervous you’ll be, the more nervous you are the more likely you are to make a mistake and the quicker you’ll tire.  The more you focus on the moment, and focus on what it’ll take to win, the more intelligent your actions will be on the competition mat and the more likely you are to make good things happen.

The less you care about losing, the more likely you are to win.


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