Here’s a lesson from the 2018 NBA playoffs: Suffering an embarrassing and inexcusable loss isn’t enough to make you a loser.
Case in point: At the time of this writing, there are four teams remaining in the playoffs. Every single one of those teams has lost a game in their current series by a large margin. By “large margin” I mean “20 points or more.”
The defending champion Golden State Warriors lost to the Houston Rockets 127-105 last week. A few days later, the Houston Rockets lost to the Golden State Warriors 126-85. The defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers lost 108-83 to the Boston Celtics last week. Two games later they returned the favor by beating the Boston Celtics 116-86.
In basketball, we call these types of games “blow outs”. A “blow out” is not just a loss. It’s an embarrassing loss. The coach for each team said something along the following lines after those losses: “our performance was inexcusable.” And yet, one of those four teams is going to be crowned champion this June.
Life is like a best of 7 NBA playoff series: You always hope to perform your best and dominate your opponents, but sometimes you lose individual battles. And when losses happen, you can’t be too dramatic about them.
The masses and the critics alike are flaky. They’ll count you out when you lose and they’ll claim to have believed in you all along when you win, but none of that matters. It’s what you do between your most recent loss and the next opportunity that matters.
And this is what you do: You remember that it’s a series, you make adjustments, and you bounce back.
You don’t need to go undefeated in order to become a champion.