If you are a fan of a sportsman who won, his victory might almost feel like yours. You’ve watched him, felt the challenges, hoped, and struggled with him.
What if he lost?
What are the reasons you’ll find for that loss? How does that loss feel?
And how is this different when you watch a team?
Some champions meet one another so regularly, that they are used to losing on one day and winning on another day. Others even train with their competitors. Arnold Schwarzenegger, for example, describes himself as having been fanatic about training with friends, it didn’t matter that they were his competitors. The better they were, the better training partners they were to him. They would learn from one another as well as push one another. As he says: “you don’t just lift weights. You lift each other.”
He isn’t expecting consistency in winning. He knows that there is much he can contribute to his ability to win, but just as much he can’t control. There are days to win and there are days to lose.
It may lead to seeing that in that specific competition, he was challenged by the environment, maybe there was also something in his training routine that wasn’t on the spot, his mental ability in that moment, a skill he hadn’t developed well enough, or his technique. And it can also be that something had been more favorable to his competitor on that day.
It’s an attitude. And an understanding that there is more to winning than one’s ability.
It’s also an ability to deal with uncertainty.
Being attached to the outcome is like assuming that winning can be predicted and should happen. And the more questions sportsmen are being asked about the outcome, about the difficulties they will encounter, or about what it is they did that will enable them to win, the more difficult it seems to become to acknowledge that consistency doesn’t exist.
Predictions don’t make an outcome.
Training and preparation assist the outcome. They don’t create it.
The better the competitors, the more uncertain the outcome.