Losing is the Playground of Development

Paul’s Blog

December 12, 2020


Losing is the single most important teaching moment in sport. Everything I've learned is a result of my mistakes, both professionally and personally. Losing is the playground of development. I wrote a book as an apology to my three grown children because I wasn't there for them when they were growing up. I learned that lesson the hard way.


When a person is winning, it's human nature to move on to the next and sometimes we don't learn very much from that experience. But when we lose, the train stops and everybody says, “my God… what just happened? Why didn't I win? Did I not prepare well? Was I not organized? Was this person simply better than me?” That's the teachable moment.


What I've learned is you can't teach a person anything immediately after following defeat. I am working right now consulting a hedge fund who had some very tough mid-year reviews and wanted me to get in there and coach right away. I told them no, because that all had to sink in. Then I could go in and frame it in an intelligent way. The XFL did this thing where they had a camera right on the sideline and a microphone in someone’s face right after they missed a tackle. In that moment, you're not going to get any good feedback, and you could be getting career-ending feedback. After you let it percolate a little bit and it becomes internalized, once the inner temperature comes down, then you can go in and say what you've observed and what exactly to learn from.

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