It is not easy to be a Donald Trump. It is difficult to accept defeat. Not, when you think that defeat is a catastrophe and the end of the world. Not when you believe that you are irreplaceable especially by somebody whom you have constantly undermined. Not when you are surrounded by enablers who do not tell you what you need to know but instead choose to pamper your bruised ego.
There is a Donald Trump in all of us. It shows in the littlest thing, like when we refuse to let others cut in front of us in traffic. We feel like Trump when we refuse to acknowledge that we have made a mistake or the idea of a colleague or a staff member is better than ours. We are like Trump when we lose a competition and are beaten by others. We then think that the judgment was flawed and that the winner won not because of merit but due to foul play, politics, or lobbying. Filipinos can be bad in accepting defeat—we just have to remember all the lawsuits filed by losers in elections or those who lost in competitive bids.
There are only two alternatives in dealing with defeat: denial or acceptance. Denial after experiencing grief is normal. These are parts of the healing process. But wallowing in grief for a long period is harmful to us and to others. It is bad for our health and predisposes us to negativity, pessimism, and eventually depression. We dig our own graves and bury ourselves along with others. And for leaders who can influence others to be as skeptical and suspicious as they are, the consequences tend to be divisive and destructive.
Defeat is not everything. We have a choice to see it as a signal to change our path for something better. It is an opportunity to develop humility and grace by seeing that others are as good as we are, if not better. It is a chance to discover what we can strengthen in ourselves and in our organization. It is a time to reflect and answer the question on how can we become better.
It is takes some effort to believe that the universe was not created solely for us and that others, are children of God as well. Didn’t He say that “He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous?” We can be more realistic and consider ourselves as among the unrighteous who have been blessed.
The virtue of letting go is developed from childhood. Children will never learn to handle frustrations if they are spared from experiencing them. The role of adults is to guide the young in accepting that their ways are not always the best and that there is always a lesson to be learned from every painful experience.
Competition can encourage us to be productive and to try our best. But we should keep in mind that it not the winning that counts. It is the experience, the learning, and the effort to become the best of what we can be that truly matter.