On losing

I wrote this in November after our volleyball team lost in the SUNYAC Quarterfinals:

“The course of your life depends on how you react to those opportunities and challenges that randomness presents to you. If you’re awake and paying attention, you will find that things happen. They might seem good, they might seem bad, but the important thing is how you reacted to it.” ~ Leonard Mlodinow, author of The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules our Lives

Last night we lost. Our season is over.

Over the next three weeks every team in Division III volleyball will lose as well, except one. When they do, players and coaches (especially coaches) will wonder what they could have done better, then they’ll furiously start making plans to win more next year.

But first it might be worth pondering, “How did I react to the loss?”

The physicist Leonard Mlodinow goes on in conversation with Krista Tippett:

“And so what I’m saying about life is you don’t know a lot, even if you think you do, and you don’t have a lot of control, even if you’re a control freak. So a lot of things that happen to you in that sense are random. And the same thing with your reaction to it — yes, maybe a god-like person who knew what the state of all the atoms in your body could tell how you’re going to react. But since none of us are that, it really does matter, and you do have a choice. And that determines your life.”

It’s fun to win, and fun to get better. But meaning is found in choosing your reaction.

Thank you for being a part of our 2016 season.”

This post was read by over 1,000 people.

In our never-ending quest to win, it seems we need better education in how to lose, because reacting with cynicism is never a useful response.

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