As we near the end of the Tokyo Olympics, this quote by Michelle Kwan got me thinking on the whole idea of winning and losing. Nobody participating at the highest level, strives to win the silver or bronze. Every single athlete prepares and yearns to win the gold. But at the end of the day, there is only one winner. Nothing else matters as long as you’ve done your best, you know you’ve done all you could possibly do!
A few years back, PV Sindhu kept getting a lot of flack for losing at the finals. With the label of being a failure in the final stages being stamped on her, Sindhu hit back at her critics saying it isn’t the gold medal that she lost in the World Championships but a second consecutive silver that she won. Here’s Sindhu’s hard-hitting Instagram post:
“Never give up, never give in, and when the upper hand is ours, may we have the ability to handle the win with the dignity that we absorbed the loss” – dough Williams It brings me immense amount of pleasure to bring back the silver consecutively 2nd year in the BWF world championships. I didn’t lose the gold , I won the silver and I can proudly say my silver sparkles. It was indeed a wonderfull week in Nanjing, inspite of losing in the finals I had some great matches. I have been really happy about my consistent performance over the rankings. I believe that patience and persistence make unbeatable combination for success, hence have complete faith that my gold shall come soon!! It’s amazing how I have received so much love and support from people all around the world, and that keeps me going! And finally I want to thank my amazing team, who have stood by me like a pillar throughout the tournament and also thanks to all my sponsors @olympicgoldquest @baselineventures whose been supporting me and a special thanks to my Physio @physio.shetty whos always been waiting to treat meand take care of me when ever i want to n always being there for me n finally thanks to all my coaches who helped me in and out and also been so kind always….”
While the world would always perceive the No.2 as more of not being No 1, it is important to celebrate being on that podium and the journey made to get there. An episode titled, ‘The Silver Lining’ of the fantastic podcast ‘The Happiness Lab with Laurie Santos’, discusses the human biases of focusing on positive references, harsh comparison with others and focusing on the destination rather than the journey. The discussion is with Michelle Kwan – the Olympic silver medalist ice skater. The episode discusses the possibility that like the silver medalists in sports, we make the same mistakes in life too, which eventually sets us up for sadness rather than celebration.
How did Michelle Kwan break out of the gloom of missing the Gold medal?
It was by setting up a negative reference – she compared her winning the silver medal with that of winning the bronze medal, next she stopped comparing her performance with others and rather compared it with her own older self and lastly, she focused on enjoying the journey to that medal more than the colour of it.
As we strive to be the best in our own respective fields, let us strive to do our best, enjoy the journey and find the silver lining at every moment!