My colleague Patrick Allan once explained how to avoid being a sore loser at competitive games. Let's revisit his lesson in a higher-stakes context. Say, an election.
Congratulate the Winner Right Away
"A simple handshake or 'well done' completely shifts the spotlight to them," says Allan. "That way, if you need to sulk, you can go do it on your own without drawing unwanted attention."
"Realize when the vote is this close –– that it's not over." Republican Roy Moore refuses to concede to Democrat Doug Jones, despite losing a close Alabama Senate race. https://t.co/YNIst4Ggn1 pic.twitter.com/dEIMgYiAZ1
— CBS News (@CBSNews) December 13, 2017
Think About the Real World Consequences (or Lack Thereof)
"You want to prove that you're the best," Allan says, "and that you deserve respect. This kind of thinking is hard to shake because it's ingrained in your personality, but it can really get the best of you when things go south."
Cory Gardner is already recruiting Jones to switch parties pic.twitter.com/rQecr8ozw7
— Ben Jacobs (@Bencjacobs) December 13, 2017
Remove Yourself from the Situation If It's Too Much
According to Allan, "Saying nothing is always better than saying — or doing — something you'll regret later. If your anger is raging inside, leave the table, put down your controller, stand up from your desk, or take a seat on the bench. It won't always look good to others, but it will look better than swinging your arms and screaming."
The reason I originally endorsed Luther Strange (and his numbers went up mightily), is that I said Roy Moore will not be able to win the General Election. I was right! Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2017
Practise Being a Graceful Winner
"Being a graceful winner can help you avoid being a sore loser too," says Allan. "If you can avoid gloating or talking trash when you happen to be victorious, the people you play against will probably return the same respect."
Roy Moore is going to win the election unless he drops out. Screen cap this, you'll see I am right.
— Mike Cernovich ???????? (@Cernovich) November 14, 2017
Remember Why You're Playing to Begin With
You need to remember the point of it all, says Allan. "It's ok to be competitive, and nobody ever said you had to enjoy losing, but it's important to keep things in perspective. Winning and losing are just very small parts of the whole experience."
“We have come so far and the people of Alabama have spoken.
It has never been about me, it’s never been about Roy Moore, it’s about you.”
Doug Jones, election night victory.#RightSideOfHistory
— Doug Jones (@DougJones) December 13, 2017
— CNN (@CNN) December 12, 2017
In conclusion, says Allan: "Losing is an opportunity to learn, to get better, and prove to others that a loss doesn't shake you. Losing hurts because we fear that others will lose respect for us and our abilities, but if you can take your loss in stride, you'll always gain respect no matter what."
It's important to learn how to lose, especially if you've got a lot more losing ahead of you.