The first time I heard "second place is the real winner," I had just placed 2nd in a big Florida tournament in 1998. Someone told me that advice right after the finals, trying to console me, as I stood there trying to accept my loss. I had no concept at all what the statement really, truly meant, though, until years and years later when I was finally delving into the mental side of playing pool and getting better at competing. I actually reference this advice/quote several times in the past 10 years on my blog. It had become (eventually) that impactful and powerful for me.
There are simple examples as well:
Yep, it's a restaurant. But, it's a clever, simple, unforgettable name. Red Lobster. Lobsters are red, they sell lobsters, it's a seafood restaurant. Red Lobster. Get it? But when I say "Let's go eat at Red Lobster" I don't think about red lobsters.
Yep, it's a store. They sell electronics and such. But, it's almost subliminal, huh? Best Buy. They want you to think you get the best buys there (even though we know otherwise).
You get the picture.
We say or hear words or phrases and yet we don't really think about what the words mean until they affect our life.
Kinda like we don't understand or hear the lyrics of a sad song until we go through a sad time in our life. Then the lyrics finally touch our hearts and we relate and understand. Otherwise, we just sing along in our cars loudly without understanding the words, lol.
So, let's go back to "second place is the real winner." Do you see the underlying words of advice in that statement?
Here, let me help out:
- It means I learned more from NOT placing first.
- Had I won that tournament, I wouldn't have reflected on how I won; I would have just basked in the glory.
- When you don't win, you reflect more about what could have helped you win, which in turn helps you in every single future competition you will play in.
- Had I won, I would have missed out on a lot of learning experiences and self reflection.
- Losses make us better.
- It really is true: second place is the real winner.
Listen. Hear. Learn.
Like this one, from Michael Jordan:
This is one of my favorites, but I didn't truly grasp the true depth of the words and advice until I started to fail.... and then succeed.
We go through our pool journey at first just playing pool. When we start to truly compete, though, we then start to comprehend all the aspects that comes along with competing. And our level of learning about the mental side of competing exponentially expands.
And that's when the quotes make sense to us finally.
Listen. Hear. Learn.