It’s a question of confidence. Confidence is success. What is success – is it a battle won or is it more important to win the war, even if you’ve just gone down in the present battle? Of course, many say, it has to be the latter (not least in humanity’s battle against SARS-CoV-2) but does it really?
Who wants to lose today? Right here, right now? Just try asking a football fan.
A win in the present moment cheers every sinew of man or woman. Or person. The campaign is ongoing, favourable or not, but the episodic joy of victory will always eclipse the linear and distant aims, a five-year plan or a positive trajectory ‘overall’.
It’s true. Morale is everything, especially when the chips are down or the going is sticky and dangerous (or dull and pedestrian and you are fighting to stay awake, or alert, or engaged or.. happy).
For example. Winning an argument can be a fleeting and shallow joy. What is winning if your adversary studies to disengage; denies you any recognition? Just a little: ‘Hey sport, nice the way you put that and I can see your point of view now. Oh and congratulations, the better man won.’
That would do.
But it’s rare. The rhetorically defeated don’t want to bounce back with praise for their competitor (or as some would see it, their tormentor). They don’t want to bask in some sort of counter-intuitive yet real episode of reflected glory. They’d rather move off sullenly and deny you your moment.
Deny the very existence, the reality, of your achievement.
Not unlike President Donald Trump in the recent US elections, leaving the putative President-Elect Joe Biden to sidle up towards his date with destiny devoid of the satisfaction it should have brought him and his diverse team.
On a darker theme, they say that revenge is a dish best served cold? Perhaps, but right-thinking folk are more likely to conclude that good food – the best food – always tasted better hot and fresh. And what’s better or more conducive to human happiness than confidence (born of success, however you define success)? Perhaps that which breeds confidence: love. And a good result there is the most precious gift of all.