Why Admitting Defeat May Be The Best Way To Win

October 4, 2014


Sometimes we make decisions to move in a direction that we later regret. Unfortunately, pride can sometimes keep us from admitting a mistake has even been made. Worse yet, that delay in admitting our mistake can actually rob us from the opportunity to rectify the situation.

Winners, Losers, and Fools

I recently watched a friend take on a job that was too much for her to handle. She knew it, but couldn’t admit it and almost waited too long to fix it. Here is what got in her way:

  • Pride – She didn’t want to look incompetent in front of everyone.
  • Fear – She didn’t know what would happen if she admitted the mistake. She was afraid of failure.
  • Hate – She hated her previous job and would have done anything to escape.

All three of these are legitimate emotions. Who hasn’t felt this way? I sure have.

She eventually realized her mistake before it was too late and threw in the towel.  It was just in time!

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Did she lose?

She got her old job back before it was too late, so I say it was a win for everyone.

What is that old saying??

“T’is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all…”  Alfred Lord Tennyson

There are many people around that will call her a failure. I won’t do that; those who mock her are foolish.

She lives to fight another day.  And has learned some valuable lessons.

But How Do You Know???

I’ve made this same mistake a time or two myself. I go all in just to realize that it was the wrong decision.  Sure, I’ve slugged it out and made those bad decisions work, but I was miserable for it.  Some would say that’s what my friend should have done.

I applaud her decision to go for the unknown; to take a risk; to stretch herself.  I also applaud her decision to step down.  It was shear bravery and courage that allowed her to do that.

Quitting isn’t typically an answer you would hear from me. However, you’ve got to realize when you are in over your head.

Here are some things to consider if you find yourself in that same situation:

  1. Ask yourself a few questions: Is this about capability?  Is this about a skill that can be learned? Is winning even possible?
  2. Do you have someone you can talk to?  Find wise counsel immediately and listen to what they say.
  3. Know your options.  Do your homework.  Winning and losing are often just the result of small thinking.  There’s likely something in between.
  4. Know your heart.  Don’t lie to yourself.  Even if you decide to stick it out – make sure you know the reason; and that it’s a good one.
  5. Give it all you’ve got!  Make sure you pour your heart into it.  You don’t want laziness to turn into regret later.

Question: Have you ever stuck with something and regretted that decision later?



5 responses to Why Admitting Defeat May Be The Best Way To Win

  1. Let’s Grow Leaders January 21, 2014 at 1:26 pm

    I so agree. Staying in with a bad choice can prevent us from the real magic ahead.

  2. Great stuff brother! To answer your question, I recently made a decision to stop developing a product because it would take time I need for other important things. I don’t regret that so far. 🙂

  3. Yea staying on a committee way to long. I hit a spot where I said to many yes’s. a great lesson learned.