No one wants to lose. We all want to be winners—in sports, in business, in life. Yet, sometimes losing teaches us great lessons that help us be bigger winners in the long run.
Two years ago, the Golden State Warriors set an NBA record for most wins in a single season. They were hands-on favorites to repeat as league champions. They easily beta the first 3 opponents they faced, then they lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 7th game of the Finals.
The Warriors had a great young team. They could have gone back home and pledged to work harder and more effectively to regain their championship title. They could have argued amongst themselves about whose fault it was they lost. Instead, they made a critical decision to recruit superstar free agent Kevin Durant. With his help, the Warriors have won the NBA championship for the last two years.
Losing the 2016 Finals was a major friction event for the Warriors. But rather than let the loss divide them, they transformed friction into innovation. They decided to put out the full-court press, so to speak, to recruit Durant. For his part, Durant says he probably would not have been interested in the Warriors had they won the title that year. To him, the loss showed him an opportunity to contribute, to take the team to an even higher level of performance.
Michael Houlihan, is the co-founder of Barefoot Wine, which became America’s #1 wine brand before being sold to E&J Gallo. Houlihan says his team learned to never waste a perfectly good mistake. They saw every mistake as an opportunity to create and improve a document or process so they could do better next time. They embraced mistakes as a way to continuously improve their business.
Rather than obsessing about errors or losses, or waste time looking for someone to blame, consider how you can adapt an attitude that says, stuff happens—let’s figure out how to use this to our best advantage in the future. That approach is a slam-dunk to long-term success.