How Elliott Handles Losing

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Anyone who tries to feed you a spoonful of the sweet and sour consolation that “everyone is a winner”, is ignorant of the basic laws of nature.

And in a very insensible way, this person is setting you up for a life far worse than failure.  He is setting you up for the most damaging disease of our generation and culture; mediocrity.

Steer clear of any such people and their hazardous advice.

Instead seek the council of men who have tasted the sweetness of victory, endured the sour agony of defeat, AND have generously brought home the valuable lessons only learned by dancing with both.

“Everyone is NOT a winner.”

Winning and losing are as mutually dependent as Night and Day, Winter and Summer or Heaven and Hell.

Without one, the other could not exist.

Without night, there would be no day.

And without losers there would be no winners.

So if everyone truly was a winner, then we might just as well ALL be losers.

To psychologically and philosophically dismiss an essential component to this natural dialectic is to destroy the other.

To say that “everyone is a winner” is as much a form of reckless psychological bondage as to say that “everyone is a loser”.

It robs us of the kinetic energy cultivated by the dance of opposites.

It is in the “dance” between summer and winter that the Earth cultivates its power to grow a single tree and construct a might forest.

It is in the “dance” between the female and male lover that produces the energies needed to bring forth a human life.

It is in the “dance” between the ON and OFF switches, symbolized by the 0 and 1, that gives the entire digital age its power… including the power that you and I are afforded to share this communication.

There is ALWAYS something to be gained from the “dance” of opposites.  To kill one partner in the dance is to kill the entire dance.

To embrace the “dance” is to notice, study, experiment and harness the energy inherent in it.

To lose… gives you insight as to WHO you are, WHAT you can change, the creativity to try new ways, and the energy to implement them in order to “dance” another day.

But unlike the dance of seasons that empower the Earth to move forward, which is governed by forces outside its “consciousness”, it is up to the individual man to CONSCIOUSLY extract the power latent within the personal dance that he engages between his darker and brighter selves.

I expect to win.

I train to win.

And I compete, not for the sake of competition – I compete TO WIN.

But today, I am a loser.

This loss is not a sealing of my fate, instead it is a low point in my “dance” meant to energize me to move forward with greater focus and precision — and so the dance continues!

There are a few critical things that my loss today, to a hungry, young athlete, forced me to notice about myself.

First, I did NOT lose because…

** I competed in a heavier weight class than I trained for.

** I suffered a distracting injury during the first event in the competition.

** I was unfamiliar with two of the events in the competition.

Those are merely CIRCUMSTANCES that may have had a hand in my fate… but to rest my judgement in these “excuses” would dis-empower me, strip responsibility from my hands and render me impotent… where I would relinquish my ability to do anything about it.

Instead, my loss is a result of CHARACTER FAILURES.

Ways of being, that I consciously choose to embody, which lead to the down-swing in my dance.

I acted with Arrogance and Resignation. — THAT is why I lost.

There were two games being played out in the competition.

One game took place “under the bar” (or log, for strongman).

And the other one, deep within my mind and soul (or character).

So I’ll begin my recap here, with my character.

+ First, I had become arrogant since winning my first “comeback” show in February.  This lead me to train with far less focus.  As a result, my workouts were not directed at this competition, instead I trained for fun (not to win).

+ In my arrogance I completely ignored this competition whilst training to where I didn’t even know the weights that would be used in each event.  My assumption was, “It doesn’t matter, I’m going to win regardless.”

+ In my arrogance I decided that it would be fine to have a few drinks (with vodka in it) while out for dinner with my wife the night before the competition.

+ In my arrogance I chose not to cut the 8 pounds that I was overweight in order to compete in the under 200 pound weight class that I trained for.  Instead, I resorted to the arrogant idea that “Since I’m Elliott Hulse and I always win, I should be able to kick the asses of men even thirty pounds heavier that me.”

+ In my arrogance I quit 10 seconds short of completing the entire last (tie breaking) event in the competition, thinking that “there is no way that this kid is going to catch me.” — and in that instant I not only lost because of arrogance, but there was also a twist of RESIGNATION.

I was tired, and chose to resign the exercise of my will rather than squeeze out the last ounce of energy that my body could have produced in order to seal the win.

THAT is how I lost.

THAT is where my darkness lives.

THAT is what really happened yesterday in the parking lot of a dirty bar and grill in Fort Meyers Florida where about two dozen misfit athletes who enjoy lifting odd objects gathered to see who was the strongest.

THIS is what it looked like:

Things you may notice: My busted face after the Log Press; My pathetic attempt at the Tire Pull race that I didn’t prepare for; My RESIGNATION while walking away from the stone with 10 seconds still on the clock for the last event.

At the conclusion of this competition some of my friends tried to console me by saying, “Hey, this was just a local show, it really isn’t that important”. — to which I replied, “Instead of granting me pardon for a missed step in my dance, I would rather you pray from my grace.”

In the word Grace we find many meanings…

“Grace” comes from the Latin word “gratia” meaning gratitude or thanks.

Grace is also a word used to describe favor or goodwill granted by God or a higher power.

Finally, a dancer who exhibits beauty and elegance in her form and display is said to be graceful.

In my experience THAT is exactly how it works!

First we choose to have GRATITUDE even in times of adversity.  We are thankful for “darkness”, “winter seasons” and losing, instead of dismissing these things as if they don’t exist; or that “everyone is a winner”.

Then, we are then granted FAVOR because of our recognition and respect for the laws of nature or God.

Finally, to those who are merely spectators observing as we participate in the “dance” of our lives, it seems as if our every step is infused with BEAUTY AND ELEGANCE!

Keep dancing.

And keep Growing Stronger,

Elliott Hulse

PS – If you found this message supportive and encouraging to you as you DANCE, please share it with others who are also brave enough to get up and dance every single day of their lives.

I find it encouraging to learn about other dancers.  We dance far more beautifully “in step” rather than alone or against one another :)