Tuesday, 16 December 2008


A natural fear of failing has driven me to be more of a winner than a loser.

It has also meant, that while I am reasonable competitive, I do not have that nasty streak and complete focus that I believe people like the top sportsmen and women have.

The fear of losing works both ways, it can lead to a sporting disappointment as it can restrict your performance or reduce your flamboyance when it is most needed.

I relate it to sports, because while not brilliantly talented at any one in particular, I can turn my hand reasonable well to many.

In my time I have played some sports to a decent amateur club standard.

Cricket and hockey were my normal summer and winter sports respectively.

I can also swing a golf club, kick a football and I was even in a table tennis team for a brief period during my middle teens.

While I have a will to win, it genuinely is not a win-at-all-costs sort of mentality.

Well, it is not when the victory means little.

And as I was never going to be a world beater it is safe to say, I have never, or most likely, never will, reach my achievable peak in any sporting discipline.

This attitude used to frustrate my team mates sometimes.

Those that obviously gave everything, every time, even if the end result was minimal.

It would rarely drive them wild on the pitch, or field of play. Because I would always give 100% when I was there.

Yet my practice was always minimal, and my appearance record was not what it could have been, as I was often distracted, and off doing other things.

My attitude earned me many friends from my time in sport, but perhaps it would not have hurt to earn myself a few more enemies.

Sportsmen often split opinion.

Some believe their focus, or selfishness is to be admired, but others – I put myself in this category – think it is no great shakes that they happen to be the best in THEIR field.

But I do appreciate what it takes.

The fear of failure is something I hope I do NOT pass onto my child.

And while I do not want him to be failure phobic, I also do not wish him to become a sore loser, or unlikable due to his competitiveness.

With the only exception, that if it makes him happy, I suppose.

I am not even sure if I will have any influence on this, but I am, at the least, aware of it.

If opportunities come along to rid him of fear I shall take them.

Like earlier this month, and a competition held by Max’s nursery and probable school.

It was sausage week, and a colouring competition was run alongside the promotion of eating mashed up, and then tubed, pig.

The timing was brilliant as it was the same week that Junior had got a Thomas painting set, as a Christmas gift, from Santa at the end of the show putting the X into Xmas.

We enjoyed colouring it in, while I simultaneously cooked dinner.

Multi tasking is for men too.

Our entry was made, and I thought no more about it.

However on my arrival to nursery this afternoon I was greeted by a very happy three footer who had just been informed of his win in the contest.

Apparently he was the only one who had gone to the effort of using paint instead of crayon.

Lucky circumstance.

But a win is a win.

Shame he is too young for this.

Yet as I was congratulating him on winning his Winnie The Pooh jigsaw prize.

He was rather insistent that it was a present rather than a prize.

Gracious in victory.

Just defeat to work on now. Share/Save/Bookmark


Dan said...

I have a similar attitude towards sport. Apart from the being good at any of them bit that is.

http://reluctantmemsahib.wordpress.com said...

a thoughtful post. and an important thought. children need to learn how to be as gracious winners as they need to be losers. I think Max is lucky his dad knows the value of this. nothing so ugly as competitive parents screaming on a side line.

Susanna said...

I'm a terrible looser, but have mellowed with age and parenthood ;-)

Penelope said...

"Multi tasking is for men too."
Surely you are kidding me? ;o)
Congrats Max!

Robert said...

You are lucky not to be one of the must-win-at-all-costs winners. Those who are "driven" to win at all costs are never happy. They have severe self-confidence issues.

You DO have an influence in his outlook to winning & losing. If you can pass on your attitude on winning to your son, you will enrich his life.

Mama Nabi said...

My. 1. I will not have an image of pig being mashed up and tubed every time I eat sausage. It WAS better to think it came that way magically. 2. I'm fairly lackadaisical when it comes to winning but I wonder if it'd to mask my own fear of losing. 3. Losing and failing don't seem to be synonymous. 4. Oh, yeah, jigsaw puzzles would go over VERY well in our house. Is Max also a puzzler?

Hurrah to winning! Every gift is a prize and every prize is a gift in certain ways.

Single Parent Dad said...

Dan - Having the right attitude is more important, isn't it?

Relucctant Memsahib - Too true, and thank you.

Susanna - May the mellowing continue.

Penelope - I would never kid you.

Robert - I think so too, and I will be trying.

Mama Nabi - OK, don't think of them as mashed up pig, think of them of mashed up pig, salt, pepper, water and a shed load of additives. Better?

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