Life is a Win/Lose Game : 2 Keys to Turn Failure into Success Now

Erasing the Line that Makes Us Blind

With my eyes tightly closed my Uki (training partner), Pablo Malco, threw a succession of quick punches and kicks at me. Feeling his intention and his presence, I avoided first, a strike at my face, then a hay-maker to my cheek and as I felt his weight settle against his hip I sidestepped a swift kick aimed to my stomach. I felt each attack as a rush of air and, unadmittedly, a feeling of glee rose in my spirit.

Then there was Pablo’s elbow.

I don’t know where it came from, but I do know where it went. It smacked right into the side of my face! I fell to the grass laughing.

For the moment, the game was lost. It was Pablo’s turn.

“The game was lost?” Was that true? Was that how I was to measure myself up? Is that how we measure ourselves up against all the games we play in life?

… as successful / unsuccessful
won / lost
spiritual / unspiritual
loved / unloved

It seems sensible enough, to assess our progress through a hard division of black and white results. But what does that do to our spirit? How does that assessment play into our overall experience or sense of progress.

Surely, you’ve got your own games. Maybe they’re not martial arts, maybe you play at growing a successful company, maybe it’s finding a loving partner in life or maybe it’s being involved in a social movement or an internal spiritual one.

On your path, you’re going to take steps. You’re going to learn. You’re going to practice. You’re also going to stumble, and when you do, it’s likely you’ll throw in a quick assessment … “I’ve won.” … “I’ve lost.”

But there’s no merit in either.

Sure, the quick, “I won.” can feel good, but it’s here and gone. The finish-line crossed obscures the real gold in your step or practice.

If you ask me, “what then is the gold, if not the win?” … before I answer, remember that this answer is coming from a fool. And one who beckons you to find the enlightened fool within yourself.

Again, the question … “What then is the gold, if not the win?”

There are two answers that are curiously interwoven:

One, that you simply enjoy the practice itself. You play. That you wear down any resistance that the practice was meant to “get you somewhere”, and that when you got there, you then could access some other aspect of yourself : joy, respect, confidence, mindfulness, love or self-love. The movement, practice or step, was engaged wholly and you surrendered to it being a wondrous experience.

Secondly, finding the merit. Actually, finding the merit in each move. When we find the merit … the lesson, the contrast, the need, not only is it a strategic practice in resourcefulness, it is also the most powerful way to receive each present moment as a gift. We have risked ourselves … we have committed ourselves to a step or practice, that is typically, in contrast with ‘who we’ve been’ before in life. The gift of ‘finding the merit’ is throwing the small story of who we’ve been- what our limitations are, what we can or cannot handle- into the fire and looking to emerge with an experience or an intelligence that proves we are bigger than before. The gift is evidence that we have done or now know what to do.

And that, is the real line we are erasing. We win when, in any way, we erase the line between what was possible for us before and what is possible now.

We are not playing a win-lose, succeed-fail game anymore. When we play and find the merit in each moment of our game, there is never truly a loss. Because of our shift away from ‘win-lose’ thinking the following moments and movements are defined with a consciousness and clarity that were unavailable to us before our game.

Finally, in practicing these two distinctions, we are free from the pull to demoralize or harsh the person who would make their subsequent steps have greater and greater value … That person is ourselves. We stop being our silent enemy!

Children learn with ease. It is only later in life that their minds drift into such adult thoughts as ‘where is this taking me’ or ‘I sucked at that’. And with those sensible thoughts, as adults, we put on a gentle brake on learning and begin living into an imaginary future while losing the powerful opportunity here in the now.

Take your game and play. Find the Merit. Avoid that elbow and laugh … or fall and laugh, but take the gold and win either way.

Pablo Malco, Choreographer / Dancer is the Artistic Director of The Pablo Malco Foundation. With his foundation gaining rapid recognition, Malco still makes time to teach workshops and work with performing artist all over the globe, continuing to pave the way for young performing artist. Links to the Pablo Malco Foundation and Facebook Page.

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  1. Very useful!! It really resonated with me. You should do some follow up blogs on this. You are touching something really deep and fundamental in everyone. The supposed goal attainment/self worth idea.

  2. Gary Grant says:

    Thank you for reading, Jason … absolutely, we intend to follow up. These concepts of fortifying our self-worth, in the end, make us more effective and clear in our endeavors … Good thoughts!

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