How to handle failures in life: after you just got eliminated from the Champions League – one goal away from qualifying.

This is not a post about soccer and not about our great achievements
it’s a post about how we handle failures in life

2:34 AM
Flying home to Israel from Maribor, Slovenia
after we just got eliminated from the Champions league – one goal away from qualifying.

And yes, this means that we will have to be satisfied “only” with the group stages of the Europeans league, the second year in a row.

An achievement that greatly empowers the tradition that the wonderful club Hapoel Beer Sheva is building.
But this is not a post about soccer, and not about our great achievements- it is about how to handle failures in life.

Its always fun to be on the winning side of the scoreboard

But this time it was different. This time we were on the other side

To see your opponent celebrating in your face
and you have nowhere to run

You are forced to see it all and your heart cringes

You see the players you love so much hurting in that moment

With tears in their eyes is a heartbreaking moment

However, inside all the pain hides a great gift

One that few people can take advantage of

I’ve decided to use this moment to share with you
a different point of view on how to recover from losses in life

Soccer is not a profession for the faint hearted

Sometimes the difference between loss and glory is often decided by a thread
It is like Russian roulette

Soccer is a profession where in the speed of light you turn from A Hero to Zero
And from Zero to Hero

So how do you recover from failures in life?

The best way to handle a loss begins with what you define as victory
And what do I mean?

John Wooden, one of the greatest basketball coaches the world has ever known,
described this line of thinking well.

He taught his players a philosophy that amounts to the following sentence:
“When a game is over, and you see somebody that didn’t know the outcome,
I hope they couldn’t tell by your actions whether you outscored an opponent
or the opponent outscored you.”

I believe these words describe a winning approach to a balanced life in a competitive world.

Does this mean denying our disappointment?

Does it mean that we have to hide our pain?

Definitely not.

Pain is an emotion through which we can develop powerful mental strength
but we don’t want a specific loss to define us as failures.

And don’t let anybody tell you that the result doesn’t matter-it matters a lot!
But when the result is not in your favor
You should be resilient with mental armor against failure

And to recover from losses without getting a heart attack at a young age
We should understand something that is fundamental:

Its not the success that builds you

And its not the failure that ruins you

It’s the self-esteem you develop in between

In other words, to live a healthier life in a competitive world

We must learn to separate between the “person you are”- and your main role in life

And to evaluate ourselves unconditionally and regardless of the results

For example….
In any sport you must separate the person you are -from the athlete you are. Meaning, you should know that before anything, you are loved and appreciated regardless of your sport and only then you are an athlete with aspirations.
In business, you must separate the person you are-from the businessman you are. Meaning you should know that you are loved and appreciated regardless of the money you made and only then you are the businessman with aspirations.

Why does it all matter?

Because if you value yourself just based on the results

Then on the good days you will feel like you are the king of the world

And when a crisis comes you will feel worthless

The days you will win you will feel like “million bucks”

And the days you lose you will feel like a total loser

Therefore, the secret to recovering fast from losses begins way before

The game even started
The truth is, it begins even in our childhood

I’ll tell you a short story so you get the idea…

Imagine a little boy who started playing soccer
What is his dream?

To be the next Messi

Statistically we know that “one in a million” will get there

But the boy has a very clear and bright picture of his future in his mind

That “this is what he wants”
There is no plan B for him
But behind the scenes, in the boy’s mind, something very dangerous is happening
He makes an unconscious decision that is all of this won’t happen

Then he will be considered a failure- a failure as a person
This little boy learns that his worth as a person is measure only by his results

And this-as you already understand is an attitude that leads him to live his life miserably

The reality is always much crueler

When he starts experiencing losses on game days

Sits a little bit on the bench
Or worse of all gets released from his team-
In these moments his lifetime dream is shattered to pieces

And as a little boy you think your life is over and you just don’t know how to handle it
So, the way to handle a loss is to remember one sentence

“You are not a soccer player who is a person-
You are a person who is also playing soccer”

“You are not a business man who is also a person-
You are an amazing person first, who is also doing business”

And this is where the magic begins…

Over time, when we learn to separate our self-worth from the result

We are much more liberated
When we win? We enjoy it (and not get ahead of ourselves)
When we lose? We can contain in with love as a lesson that is a part of the journey (and not declare it as tragic)

And then, overtime, paradoxically, the results will start to be in our favor
So, to sum it up

You are much more than just soccer players, athletes, business people, coaches, parents. Before any of that you are human being, loved, appreciated-unconditionally and regardless of your results- and this is the strongest base to lean on.

This attitude has proven itself for me every time
And now it is yours
Some of you may say “easier said than done”
And you are right
But who said being a winner is an easy thing?

Yours,
– Eitan