If you've ever heard the saying, "The bigger they are, the harder they fall," then you can relate to this direct connection. The higher the stakes, the harder it is to accept losing. The more we invest, the more we can potentially lose. Ultimately, the more importance we put on winning, the more destructive is losing.
Sometimes, the investment in success comes naturally. If our team makes it to the Super Bowl, where one game of 60 minutes of football determines the champion of the NFL for that season, we naturally put a lot of importance on winning that particular game because we are so close to the championship. But if our team loses, does that mean our team failed to have a successful season? Does that mean our investment in the team reflects upon us and should lower our self-esteem?
What furthers this is the anticipation of losing. When we put so much emphasis and importance on winning, we naturally build up an anticipation of the possibility of not succeeding as well. This anticipation contributes to the problem: we can't possibly bear to lose, for if we do, it will be a catastrophe!
Failure is a natural part of life. Disappointment is inevitable. We can be sad we didn't win. We can be frustrated as well. But perhaps it should never rise to a level where it becomes unreasonable or unsafe.