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Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” 
- Winston Churchill

In boxing and in life, you either win or you learn. Learning from your mistakes forms the basis for all future success. How we react to failure is what comes to define our lives.

Everyone reacts differently to losing and everyone at some stage of their life will lose. There is no right way to feel after a tough loss. Loss can be hard. Loss can be emotional, causing you to feel inadequate or ashamed. Loss can destabilise you mentally and challenge your identity, as you confront some assumptions you may’ve held about yourself.

Preparation and positivity are the bedrock for the best version of you and what you’re capable of at the next given opportunity. The past is only helpful if you can learn from your mistakes and capitalise on those lessons.

Moving forwards from a loss hinges on acceptance. Acceptance has no timeframe and at worst some athletes may question the path they’ve chosen, never quite coming to terms with the upset. But to help you accept the loss and retain the sense that you are in control, self-talk and perspective are key. Cultivating a positive outlook begins with how you talk to yourself, which in turn leads to positive actions. Try not to let the past occupy your present.

It is vital that you keep your experience of loss in perspective. First of all, failure is not final. In elite-level sport the pressure to win is tantamount to success. It is imperative that an athlete thus retains a sense of self and is validated by other areas of their life beyond fame, money and titles. Remember who your friends are, your family and your team, your hobbies and your other interests. Think of all the people, without whom you wouldn’t be where you are. They are all there for you, with titles or no titles. Remember to be grateful for the experience and acknowledge the point you’ve reached when you can be challenging for world titles. As they say in sport, pressure is a privilege.

The world will keep turning, your team are going nowhere, your gym will still be there tomorrow, the sport remains what it’s always been for you and there is always room for improvement. You just need to review the playback and then decide how best to utilise the experience to your advantage.

It’s good to have an end to journey towards, but in the end it’s the journey that matters”
- Ursula Le Guin

Our process is key to supporting us after a loss. By putting a focus on the process rather than the outcome you will feel more in control of your participation. We don’t always have control over the result of a fight or a match, but we can control how we prepare and how much effort we make. As athletes or elite-level sportspeople, chances are high that we are obsessed with our sport. As such, we are driven by self-mastery and strive for continual improvement. No one needs to remind us what time to wake up, what time to reach the gym and whether doing more is more often than not, a good thing. Reminding yourself of your goals and what you need to do to reach those goals is something that only you control.

Ask yourself - am I going to beat myself up and lose twice, or am I going to review the tape, build on the experience, focus on the positives, move onwards and grow from there? Let a loss always be a lesson. 

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