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Win/Lose or Win/Learn

Win Lose Alphabet Blocks Vertical

Do you practice win/lose or win/learn?

As a society we tend towards win/lose. You can see it all around us.

In sport we have heroes and villains and very little in between. Andy Murray wins and he is a world beater (or British) and if not then he is portrayed as a loser (or being Scottish).

The England football team are either going to win the World cup or they are useless…I could go on. And it goes for so many things in life and is why so many people don’t try things – they are afraid to fail.

Many parents, teachers and leaders, the government and the media increase the focus on success or failure. Yet we want to create learners not losers (and winners).

So what do we mean by win/lose?  Well you try something and you either succeed or fail. When we talk about failure it can be very emotional and as a result lead to people not wanting to try the same or a similar experience again. It can lead to loss of confidence, low self-esteem and to making us retreat into our comfort zones.

And as we get older we tend to become more risk averse, often based on our experiences of ‘failing’.

So what’s the alternative?

win lose

Win/learn – we try and remove the emotion often associated with failure. When taking action or trying something new we think of what happens as just a result (which may be better or worse than we would have liked but it’s just an outcome).

We ask what we might do next time to improve this result – what learning can we take from our first experience and use positively to improve our performance and enjoyment. This takes time and practice and is a skill of many high achievers.

While we all meet challenges and suffer disappointments, it is how we respond to them that will define our life. There is little point having regrets as there isn’t the opportunity to change the past.


Yet we can use our experiences to try and achieve a better outcome next time. Win/learn is a great technique to help students step out of their comfort zone and to enable them to have more successful lives.  In the lessons on building resilience and in stepping out of my comfort zone (which you can get hold of through our last blog – The Myth of Talent) you can find some exercises that will help develop a win/learn approach for you and your students.

Take a look at our short home page video to find out why we worked with teachers to produce our lessons and programme.  Just click here – it should start automatically.