It’s incredibly tough to face defeat, all too easy to assume that losing means we’re a failure or not worth anything. But in order to push past defeat, we must first confront it. Smarter people than you or I have pointed that out in some excellent quotes and excerpts. Here is some wonderful advice from great people from history on how to accept and even grow from defeat.

1. “There is no better than adversity.”

Legendary human rights activist Malcom X said, “There is no better than adversity. Every defeat, every heartbreak, every loss, contains its own seed, its own lesson on how to improve your performance the next time.” He’s someone who knew a lot, too much in fact, about heartbreak and loss, so that quote is especially valuable coming from him. Don’t let defeat, no matter how painful at the time, define and control you. Instead, use it as fuel to become better and stronger physically, mentally, spiritually or emotionally.

2. “Learn to die to be liberated from death.”

As said by the master, Bruce Lee, “Like everyone else you want to learn the way to win, but never to accept the way to lose — to accept defeat. To learn to die is to be liberated from it. So when tomorrow comes you must free your ambitious mind and learn the art of dying!” Once you can finally accept of defeat, also referred to as the death of a dream, you can move forward with your life. Furthermore, that fearlessness will free you to do your true best, which in itself will mean more wins and less defeat.

3. “We should be thankful to those who let us fly this flight.”

Aerospace engineer Gordan Cooper is quoted as saying, “Father, we thank you, especially for letting me fly this flight – for the privilege of being able to be in this position, to be in this wondrous place, seeing all these many startling, wonderful things that you have created.” We need to display gratitude towards those that gave us an opportunity to “compete” in the first place, whether they be gods, mentors, friends or some other presence in our lives. Being defeated is better than not attempting sometime at all, so we should thank those who gave us an opportunity to take a shot at our goal.

4. “Be humble.”

Motivational author Harvey Mackay is known for the quote, “Talent is God-given; be humble. Fame is man-given; be thankful. Conceit is self-given; be careful.” Defeat isn’t always due to a lack of will or effort. In fact, it rarely is. It’s often the case that others have a genetic or situational advantage over you which caused you to “fail.” And in fact, sometimes defeat is the only thing that can remind you of how to humble yourself and see a larger world. Remember that every defeat gives you an opportunity to humble yourself in the eyes of your gods, friends, family or another thing you consider bigger than yourself.

5. “Success isn’t meaningful if it isn’t because of growth.”

Benjamin Franklin probably never would have discovered electricity or played his part in the creation of the United States if he didn’t believe this. He is quoted as saying, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.” He spent most of his time learning and improving himself so that he could make a true, lasting, positive impact on the world. Only through defeat can you grow, and only through growth can you actually earn any sense of success. This and the other messages are important to remember if you’re struggling to accept defeat.

Featured photo credit: Defeat/James Simkins via flickr.com

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