Forum: Knowing how to deal with losing is important too

Singaporeans don't take kindly to our national athletes when they don't win (If NS rightly comes first, should we complain if a swimmer comes second?, May 20).

This stems from the understandable emphasis on winning on the part of spectators as well as the athletes themselves.

But if all of one's life, one is accustomed to winning and seldom experiences what it is like to lose, one may be handicapped in facing life's challenges.

Sport is an excellent arena to develop strength of character if we learn how to win and how to lose.

Learning how to deal with losing can be critical in developing true sportsmanship.

Focusing on winning alone tends to nurture narcissistic thinking: a delusion of grandeur and basking in the pleasure of being at the centre of attention.

Consequently, such thinking leads to a fragile and easily bruised ego stemming from a failure to accept that losing is an integral part of life.

I observe that the fear of failure is common among athletes, and the expectation for our athletes to always win is common among spectators. To become a nation of true sportsmen, Singaporeans have to reflect on why we tend to be so insecure about losing and so eager to impress others.

Thomas Lee Hock Seng (Dr)

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