Fear

The Hope of Winning Trumps the Fear of Losing

People like to root for underdogs because the hope of winning is exhilarating.

Posted Aug 05, 2015

commons wikimedia.com
Source: commons wikimedia.com

The Hope of Winning Trumps the Fear of Losing

Hope fuels the drive to succeed. When people have hope, they look forward to things to come. Goals, especially significant ones, give people a reason to hop out of bed in the morning. Hope energizes and motivates despite seemingly insurmountable odds. By definition, failure is a built-in feature of hope. People who hope to succeed realize that failure is an inevitable part of the process. If this were not the case, then people would simply succeed without invoking hope. Hope is only introduced when the success of an endeavor is in doubt. When failure is expected, failure is accepted. People who fail in the glow of hope pick themselves up, dust themselves off, and begin anew with a more determined purpose.

Conversely, the fear of losing becomes an obstacle to success. People who fear losing are constantly looking over their shoulders for competitors who pose a threat or potential threat. When people constantly looking back, they have a difficult time moving forward, which, ironically, gives competitors extra time gain ground. The closer the competitors get, the more people who fear losing look back forfeiting the forward movement they could have made had they been focused eyes front.

The fear of losing induces anxiety, loss of sleep, and, in extreme cases, reduces the ability to think clearly and perform at their highest level. When losing becomes inevitable, the fight of flight response triggers. During the fight or flight response, people go into automatic response mode, which reduces their ability to cognitively process information in a logical way and impeeds top performance. People in the throes of the fight or flight response become desperate. Desperation is the roadway to failure. When people become desperate, they make mistakes that they would have not made otherwise.

In sports, underdogs have nothing to lose and everything to gain through the power of hope, but top seeds fear losing their positions and, out of desperation, do not perform up to their expected level of play. People like to root for underdogs because the hope of winning is exhilarating. When underdogs lose the big game, they are applauded for their valiant effort and their status increases. Conversely, when top seeds lose, they are excoriated because they did not live up to the high expectations of their fans. Failure caused by the fear of losing produces bitter defeats.

Hope gives life purpose. Hope promotes physical and psychological well-being. The hope of life after death provides the incentive to overcome adversities and live a fulfilling life. Without hope, we become a desperate people who do desperate things to find meaning in our lives. It is far better to fail in hope than to succeed in desperation.    

For techniques to attract people and increase your likeability quotient read The Like Switch: An Ex-FBI Agents Guide to Influencing, Attracting, and Winning People Over by Jack Schafer  with Marvin Karlins, Ph.D.