THERE IS PROBABLY no better guiding principle in life today than “Loser takes all”.
Remember, children, it’s not winning the game that counts, nor is it how you play the game: what’s important is to lose as spectacularly as possible.
You see, losers are the new winners. This sounds like nonsense, and quite possibly is, given who is saying it, but consider the evidence.
Singer Susan Boyle has been all over the world’s newspapers again recently. Why? Because she LOST a talent contest. There wasn’t a single photo of the winners in any paper I read. No, Ms Boyle was pipped at the post and her prize was massive global news coverage, PLUS US$1.6 million in fees and a recording contract. Did the people who won the talent show get a recording contract? No they did not. Okay, so they’re a dance group, and no one wants to listen to a CD of people shuffling around a stage, but my point remains.
This is the age of irony. If you want to make it big, losing should be your goal. There are many examples which prove this. In the fight for the role of spiritual leader of Tibet, the loser, technically, is the Dalai Lama. His prize? He has become one of the top celebrities on the planet. And the winner? No one knows anything about the guy. I bet even his mother gets up in the morning and says, “Just remind me, who are you?” He replies: “Hi, mom, I am the government-installed puppet spiritual leader of Tibet.” His mother says: “Oh yeah, that’s right, now take out the garbage.”
Ask people around the world to name the leader of Malaysia, and the best answer you’ll get is: “Er, a Malaysian guy?” But ask them to name the loser, and they’ll say: “It’s that Anwar dude, who allegedly beat himself to a pulp in prison.” No one can forget that.
Two weeks ago, a woman named Carrie Prejean lost the Miss America contest after saying: “I think marriage should be between a man and a woman.” This is the sort of statement that Westerners find shockingly outrageous and Easterners find amazingly obvious, and neatly illustrates why the two sides will simply never understand each other. Loser Miss Prejean is now world famous. The winner was a woman named, er, I can’t remember. You can’t either, right?
Sportsman Eddie “the Eagle” Edwards did so badly in the 1988 Winter Olympics that he became the world’s most famous ski jumper.
I could give examples forever, but happily for all concerned I am reading the end of this space, so I shall do what all good columnists do and jump to conclusions. Winning is passé. It’s obvious. It’s predictable. It’s elitist. And it’s also extremely difficult.
Choosing to lose, on the other hand, is a brave decision. It is different. It is innovative. It is contrarian. And, most importantly, it’s way, way easier.
That’s why I’ve chosen to be a loser. Think about it. It might just work for you.
You could end up just like me. (Take that as a warning.)