We Are All Losers.
Pretty harsh title. I get that. It’s true though. “Can’t win ‘em all” is also true but doesn’t quite capture the importance of the fact that we all must come to grips with defeat.
When the Canadian World Junior Hockey team lost to the USA a couple of weeks ago, my 8 year old daughter wept. “I didn't want them to lose.” Get a grip, honey… and go to bed. Trust me. It will help.
I am a Canucks fan. The Canucks have never won a Stanley Cup. I mean, they have made it to the finals a couple of times in their history, but they have never won. What does this mean? They have lost every season of their existence. They fall short every year. Their motto is “We are all Canucks.” In other words, “We are all not-winners”.
One of the reasons I think we watch sports is to vicariously live through the wins of the losses of “our” team without actually experiencing it. It’s a way to engage the risk, but its false. It's fun, but still false. Gambling makes it more real, though. Yikes. Think about the risks you are taking. Do you gamble with your feelings? For me, I jumped into the world of acting. I have been going over 3 years now and have a few small things to show for. My most recent opportunity was a sweet commercial gig. The initial audition was before Christmas. A fun post-apocalyptic ‘tech takes over the world’ deal. I felt good and received a call back a couple weeks ago. Before heading in to the session with the director and ad agency, the casting director let us know that this director was the best in the world right now. What does that mean? In his words, “Be on point… don’t screw this up.” Anyway, I went in and nailed it. No lie. I was in the zone. There was running and yelling and tender moments and terror and with every direction he called out, I rolled without breaking the flow of what was happening. I felt connected and loved collaborating with the director. I legit felt like I had a chance to book it. 3 days later, I got the call that I was placed on “hold”. In other words, I was a final consideration. To top it off, it was a big pay out & filmed 5 days in Mexico City. So yeah, I wanted it. Bad. I thought about it. Prayed for it. Messaged my agent about it. Basically, I obsessed over it. AND guess what… I didn't book it.
I have been warned by other actors that the more you allow yourself to hope for a role, the more it hurts when it doesn’t happen. The risk of hope is loss, but the risk of not hoping… wouldn’t it be hopelessness? I can’t imagine anything worse to lose than hope.
So, how do you cope with failure? I am asking YOU? How do YOU cope with loss?
This time, I am processing out loud with you. Other times… well, one time... I drank SO. MUCH. RUM. True story. This past August I blew a call back for a guest starring role in a TV Show with the director and writer. Could NOT settle myself. Could NOT slow my heart rate. Could NOT go to sleep. Could NOT have felt more stupid the next morning when I realized I pissed the bed. TMI? There is so little in life we can control, but staying IN CONTROL is a choice. Self-respect and the respect of my wife and children is not something I can afford to lose. I will not gamble with them. I chose to pour the remainder of booze I had down the drain and took a break from any alcohol after that one. Do I drink again? Yup. But not if I feel that I need it to manage my anxiety. I choose to stand in anxiety and social awkwardness and fear. I choose moderation. I choose self-control. If we know something has the potential to become a problem, make the move and choose something different.
I also choose Faith. Faith in myself. Faith in Jesus. “Oh, hell no. Please don't tell me Cliff is gonna to preach now”. Well, not really, but kind’a. I tried to film a spontaneous video a few days ago, but when I was confronted with the idea of FAITH I wasn't sure what to say. This is not an apology, but you can trust that I am trying to be sensitive, but it is important to me that I am honest. You know I used to be a preacher, right? Not anymore, but I still believe. When it comes to Biblical Faith, there are a lot of things that I can go either way on. For example, 7 days of creation? Probs took longer than 7 days, but I don't care if you say 'never happened' OR 'YES IT DID!'. Fine. Did that fish really swallow a dude or was it just allegory? I say story… I like stories, but whatever. Let’s not argue about it okay. Heaven & Hell? Today has enough worries of it’s own without getting caught up in a debate. I’ll say this, I’ve never been to either place, so I can’t say for sure. I am a'okay with that stance. BUT, there is a big thing that I haven’t been able to flip. Jesus lived, died and rose again? Yup. That one. I believe that one. I know. Crazy, right? I have heard all the arguments, but I still hold a conservatively nut-job belief about it in spite of and in light of said arguments. I also believe because of what I feel and what I have personally experienced. You don't have to agree with me, but I am gonna cling to that one… cool? (To be honest, I’d rather NOT believe it because without the resurrection I’d be justified dropping the whole thing, but I can’t). From the time I fumblingly embraced faith in Jesus at 11 years old, it has not ceased to grow and move in me, making me who I am today… and I like who I am (most days).
With my faith in Jesus also comes the idea that God loved me enough to want relationship with me in spite of my jerk-like qualities. I am a relatively selfish person who is set on doing his own thing, but by the grace of God, I have a hope that propels me to fight and reject that selfishness and choose kindness and helpfulness and love more of the time. So, I have hope. I do not feel lost. Again, I am not talking about what happens after you die, because there is enough lostness to experience in this lifetime to even worry about what happens after we die. If there is nothing, I am cool with it, because having peace NOW is a worthy enough pursuit for me to put my neck out talking about it NOW. So, when I dip into despair or depression or disappointment, I remind myself that I am loved. Loved by my wife and kids and family and friends, but more importantly by God. God wants me. God chooses me. YES! I believe that God loves losers. I believe that for you as well. I also remind myself that I have a responsibility to love others as well. My kids need a dad who will get up and help them get ready for school even though things aren’t “going the way I hoped them to go.” They need an example of a man who will stand up and try again whether or not he is going to win this one. They need a dad whose heart is full with belief in himself and in God that he is able to live fully even if he is a loser. So, I practise breathing and praying and reminding myself that God is real and God is good and that I am loved.
In conclusion, when we already believe that we have value… success is a bonus.
Also, it makes me feel like I am winning… all the time.