Oftentimes you will hear a coach or a family member repeat this phrase “you win or you learn”. While there is truth to the idea that losses can highlight areas of weakness, making you reevaluate your process more deeply, it is not to say that this is only possible through losing. In fact, it is foolish to think so, although as a beginner I too fell for such logic.
I presume this statement came about as a means of allowing those with low confidence understand that it is ok to lose, and it is, true champions know this. While you should never be afraid to lose, don’t make the mistake of thinking it is a means to improving.
My biggest problem with this statement is it gives the impression that there is nothing to learn when you win. Of course we know that is an absurd way to think unless, and understandably so, you are a total beginner, and why not? If you were successful, why change anything? This would be a reasonable way to think if your opponents weren’t going to change anything either… But we know that’s not the case.
As you experience greater success, your competition and their coaches are going to devise many strategies and tactics to beat you. How? By studying you and looking for weaknesses. Does that mean that they only need to see videos where you lose? Not at all, so if an athlete and their coach can study you and conjure ways to beat you, why can’t you and your team do the same, for the sake of improvement?
What if, every time someone scored in a match, or even less, got into a position where there was potential to score, you had the same reaction as you would a submission loss? You would likely work fervently to ensure that didn’t happen again. What that tells us is that improvement can be found in any challenge, regardless of the outcome as long as you seek it.