from Getty Images
from Getty Images

by Eric Santillan

The best thing that can happen to us is a loss. I write this without knowing what will happen to Manny Pacquiao after that devastating knockdown from Juan Manuel Marquez. But I write this knowing that the best years of Michael Jordan’s career came after he unretired himself. I write this knowing that the death of Ninoy brought our nation together, and that the death of Cory woke us up from our stupor and enraged us over the deep corruption we were experiencing in all levels of government. I write this knowing that a year after the loss of almost two thousand lives in my home city of Cagayan de Oro, nobody died when a new storm broke.

The best thing that can happen to us is a loss.

But oftentimes, we end up doing either of two things: (1) we protect ourselves from losses (or protect our children from them), and (2) we let the loss fester inside and define us instead of the other way around. We end up not just losing, but losing the lesson as well.

But the best thing that can happen to us is a loss.

It is formative. It builds character. It feels shitty at first (who wants to lose anyway?) and we sometimes feel it’s the end of the world, but as soon as we bounce back, we are all better persons for it. Losses teach responsibility, manners, restraint, foresight, patience, and perseverance. In a study conducted in the US called “Why Parents Need to Let Their Children Fail”, it was found that children who were happiest and most successful in their lives are the children who were allowed to fail, held responsible for missteps, and challenged to be the best people they could be in the face of their mistakes.

Children make mistakes and will oftentimes fail, and when they do, it’s critical that parents allow the child to get the educational benefits of failing. Parents have to understand that that can be the best gift they can give their children. It is NOT negligence of their duty. In fact, Heidi Grant Halvorson, writing for productivity and ideas blog the 99u, points out that when we try to eliminate failure we also eliminate a lot of creative ability. When we are afraid of losing or getting hurt, and we force this fear on other people, we can’t win because we are not at our best.

The best thing that can happen to us is a loss.

Not because we are masochists. But because we are human. And to live the fullness of life is to experience the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. To be afraid of this human experience is to be afraid of living.

When we lose, we have not really lost, until we have lost the lesson.

About Eric Santillan

AngPeregrino is Eric Santillan. He is a management consultant for two firms specializing in sustainable business, competitiveness and risk management, cost control and culture management. During weekends, he does counselling for Clinica Salutare, an Integrative Health Clinic. He is also a writer for The Mindanao Current, a core group member of Heroic Leadership Philippines, and a retreat giver.

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