What do winning and losing really mean, and how do they both shape our lives and society, asks Andrew J. Martin in the Australian Review of Public Affairs.
Much of life seems organised around competitions, and winning and losing are signal events. In schools, politics, work and sport, audiences watch competitors engage in ultimately unsatisfying striving after esteem, money, power. Is this brutish and brutalising struggle all there is to winning and losing? Perhaps not—winning is important for our self-efficacy and losing is essential for insight into our further improvement. The point is to compete against ourselves, not others and Francesco Duina’s book Winning: Reflections on an American Obsession, helps us to understand why.