The Loser’s Circle

Stephen Hussey

You’ll lose.

And lose and lose again. 

Doesn’t matter where you are, you’re going to lose plenty. 

Sometimes the only sign that you’ve gone up in the world is the fact that you’ve begun losing at bigger things. You’re now losing thousands, instead of hundreds. You’re losing someone you loved, who loved you back – someone you wouldn’t have had in your life if you hadn’t worked hard at impressing them in the first place.

You keep moving up the ladder, but at every point you feel the pain of losing. You’ve reached high to get to this point, but you’re always failing at something.

It hurts…sometimes bad enough to make you want to stop.

The world wants you to lose. People keep telling you “No”.

Your dreams are blocked by a persistent NO ENTRY sign that seems to jump in front of whatever path you feel like going down next. People snigger when you tell them how high you hope to climb.

You realise the only one who actually cares about your success (no matter what your mother says) is you.

No-one cares if you’re great. Hell, half your friends are just grateful if you’re not making them look bad. They’d prefer you comfortable. Your parents prefer you comfortable because then they don’t have to worry about you changing too much and leaving them.

The world is not set up for you to grab those “wins”.

But you bash at the door, and bash, and bash, and learn and learn, and improve, and improve, bash again, bash again, and finally you hear a little crack on that door. It’s starting to crumble.

You smile.

After a seemingly endless streak of losing, you just grabbed a single, precious win.

Beyond this door is the horizon you’ve waited for.

But soon you realise there are so many more landscapes to find, beyond bigger, much more intimidating doors.

And to get there…it’s gonna take a lot more losing. You’ll hear “No” again when you spot the next sunny vista you’d like to move to. That’s the way it goes.

But losing and moving forward is something to be treasured. It’s about as good as it gets.

Now you’ve had a few wins under your belt, you now know that the next door in front of you, even if it’s grander than anything you’ve kicked through before, can also yield to force.

You give it a charge.



There’ll be a bit more losing before this one breaks.

But that’s ok.

You realise you’ve kind of started to fall in love with losing as much as winning.

After all, winning is just what happens at the moment you walk through the door. But losing is what made you tough enough to knock it down in the first place.

You realise the truth: Winning is just a staircase – one that leads you higher and higher to yet another losing circle.

But at least the view gets better every time.

Photo (Fernando Garcia)

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Stephen Hussey helped co-write the Get The Guy book and is a wealth of knowledge on dating and relationships.

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16 Replies to “The Loser’s Circle”

  • Wow this is me! Im having constant blocks in my path to finding a job and get so frustrated repeatedly that I feel like giving up. Thank you for reminding me life is about not just the wins but also the losses. And how true that is that “losing is what made you tough enough to knock it down in the first place”. You are a super star, keep creating great content!

  • Thank you for this perspective shift. The next time I think in my head “you are such a loser” I will be giving myself a positive compliment not a put down. A put up! Happy day yawl

  • Needed this right now. Just failed an exam 2 days ago, that has never happened to me before!! (well a math test but I have a learning disability so I was more prepared for it). And this was before having to start my BA project, so it scares me!!!!

  • I have been through this loosing and loosing more times then I can count but every time I lost I just would become more stubborn to keep going. I have had a small win for the last 3 year to learn and it was nice but now I am facing another possible set back I was frustrated and shedding tears but I won’t quit I will just keep trying til I win another small victory.

  • After losing my marriage, my father (he died from cancer, after fighting for almost three years), and struggling to find my career path, it came to a point where I was feeling completely lost, scared and tired of losing everything I loved. But I made a promise to myself that I would never lose my courage and use these struggles as stepping stones to achieve my goals and reawakening my passion for life. These past months I’ve come to realise how much stronger and confident I am now, and that motivates me to keep going when things get tough again.

    This quote of yours reminded of that truth about myself: “After all, winning is just what happens at the moment you walk through the door. But losing is what made you tough enough to knock it down in the first place”. I love it, it’s going to be one of my favorite quotes from now on! Thanks again. :)

    1. Oops, I accidentally deleted the first line of my comment. It said: “Thank you for writing this article, Stephen. Very insightful and spot-on.”. So yeah, that was it, hehe. :)

  • A view to savour for a while and while you’re there you realise you don’t want to go back down again. No matter how hard the climb and how many times you will stumble, the only way from here is up. xx

    1. There’s a film I like and I was reminded of this article on watching it for the umpteenth time. The older man who is a mentor to the younger boy, tells him after he’s lost at their tennis match and is upset, A man learns nothing from winning and everything from losing, if only how good it feels to be winning!
      And when a man finds a good tailor to keep him, one can’t underestimate the importance of a navy blue suit! If I was a man I would have one to take me to all occasions where needed. I love the guy on the back of the weekend section of the FT who also writes on such matters. Like which airlines have best first class travel, best airport lounges of the world etc. A life of utter class, distinction and discernment one can and does aspire to and do in my own little way. I woke to read about a billionaire bemoaning his life now he has all he wants and yet none of it and I’m quite happy today. Maybe it’s partly in the wanting, and obv its in our human relationships. Which is where you come in, your advice is invaluable.

  • Hi Steve,

    I read all of your blogs but rarely comment, but I had to thank you for this one.

    I was dating a guy and it didn’t work out (per his choice.) I started to feel like crap afterwords, telling my best friend how it never works out for me and I don’t know what I’m doing wrong. Basically, I spend 48 hours crying and feeling bad for myself.

    Then I remembered that this time I met him in person instead of on a dating site like I usually do. I asserted my standards and he treated me well the entire time we were together. When we did decide to stop seeing each other it was done calmly and rationally, with him telling me he couldn’t give me what I wanted at that time. I couldn’t say any of these things about my past relationships.

    I let the one loss negate all of the wins along the way. Thanks for the reminder that loosing is a part of it all. It makes me feel better about going out and trying (and possibly loosing) again.

  • My favourite article so far !
    Last year I failed my medschool entry test, i’m taking it again this year. Today I had the first class and I was angry at myself for being there again, but that feeling vanished during the break when I checked twitter and found your article ! Thank you for motivating me on this difficult day

    Warm hug from Casablanca

  • Steve,

    This blog reminds me of that quote,”The same boiling water that softens the potato hardens the egg. It’s about what you’re made of, not the circumstances.”

    We have to have something to strive for, that next win, but our substance comes from the losses we endure. That quote also touches on character, and outlook, which I like. I have made a conscious choice to remain soft, despite the circumstances that I have been dealt.

    I am wondering if this blog was inspired by your reflections after achieving your doctorate?



  • I’ve been trying to get a job in LA for just years. I gave up the past 2 years and settled for working where I currently live. I’ve decided today, I’m going to try for LA again…. and try even harder than I did before. Somehow this piece gives me confidence not to let the past loser job positions that didn’t get offered to me get me down. How awesome that you wrote this just now. Wish me luck!

  • this is what “reading” is…if it’s affecting,making you think and ponder… then it’s effective. i breathe in and sigh while reading this.and then smiled and said “oh…another winning piece.”

  • “After all, winning is just what happens at the moment you walk through the door. But losing is what made you tough enough to knock it down in the first place.”

    I’m sitting here in the office (what? don’t judge, there’s nothing to do right now…), reading this article, and once I got to this line, I had chills. I even cried a little.

    That’s so powerful. Thank you Stephen.

  • Thanks Stephen! I love your posts. Please keep up the good work. You and Matthew have really helped me in so many ways! I’ve learned to be more persistent/bold because of the awesome points you and Matthew cover. Don’t stop your blog, ever! I preach “Hussey talk” to all my girlfriends when they have man trouble haha. I even started a blog myself! We just did our first post for men. Have a look! You’ll have a laugh. You guys have truly inspired me :) Thx!

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