Losing

I’m currently reading How Children Succeed. I’m not quite half-way through so I can’t do a review yet. But one section resonated.

The author is talking about a low income Brooklyn school that somehow excels nationwide at chess. The teacher often will focus a class on what the students blew in the tournament the weekend before. Which can be a challenge.

It’s uncomfortable to focus so intensely on what you’re bad at.

The teacher takes them down a difficult path. To take responsibility for mistakes and learn from them without obsessing over them.

Very rarely do kids have an experience in life of losing when it was entirely in their control. But when they lose a chess game, they know that they have no one to blame but themselves.

So the teacher teaches, without making excuses. But tries very hard to make one key point:

I try to teach my students that losing is something you do, not something you are.

That might be one of the key lessons in life.

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