Yes, There is Such a Thing as Losing

The last thing I remember was seeing the number ’13’ on the bottom of a boot.

When I was about 18 my friends and I went into a small town over the Illinois border into Iowa. We went there to drink. One of my friends knew the bartender and he wouldn’t card us.

We went. We hydrated. We flirted with the local girls. This flirtatious action led to a small confrontation in the parking lot.

Locals vs. Intruders

They apparently couldn’t accept the fact that our group was more interesting to the local girls than they were. Truth is, we weren’t more interesting…just new.

I threw a punch and it landed hard. I turned to help a buddy out and…

Wake Up Call

I’m not sure how long I was out but we were back in the car heading home. My lip was split, my face swollen and the shirt I ‘borrowed’ from my dads closet (his favorite at the time) was redecorated in my blood.

Locals  1           Intruders  0

Winner. Loser.

About 15 years later I owned a painting company and bid on a large job in town. One of my guys was in a bar and had a conversation with another guy in the trades who told him, “Stay the hell away from that guy. You’ll lose your ass.”

My guy told me about the conversation, but I knew better.

Wake Up Call

I won the job and several months later had about 1/4 of an ass left. Tens of thousands of dollars and about a year of time. Gone.

I lost.

Homeowner Bill  1        Tom  0

“There are no Losses, Just Lessons”

I read that the other day. It was posted by another personal development dude. What a line of crap. I get what he was trying to say, but c’mon let’s call it like it is.

Sometimes you lose. Sometimes there is a clear winner and clear loser and there is nothing confusing about it.

How’s this for re-framing…

“Sometimes you get your ass handed to you & if you’re paying attention you’ll learn a lot too.”

Things I learned from the above happenings:

  1. Don’t go into enemy territory with arrogance.
  2. Don’t engage in a battle you’re not sure you can win.
  3. Don’t stop a boot with your face.
  4. Don’t enter a business agreement without the paperwork taken care of.
  5. Don’t let the customer be in control of your processes.
  6. Always prepare. Whether in war or business. Know your stuff. Practice your stuff. Be ready.

I could go on with the lessons learned.

So, yes… Mr. Self-Help Tomato Pants I did learn some amazing lessons.

But, I also got my ass kicked and lost a few a rounds.