“The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.” — Sun Tzu

Defeat is one of those things that we try so hard to make complicated, but at the end of the day it’s really just a simple concept: you lost the fight.

Maybe it was a fight to make yourself workout or learn something new. Maybe it was a fight with a coworker. Maybe it was a fight to get out of bed. Regardless, the meaning of defeat remains the same. If you lose those battles, you’re defeated.

Jordan Peterson speaks about this a lot in his book “12 Rules For Life.” To summarize, he talks about how lobsters fight for territory, but when they’re defeated they go into a “defeated state.” Their confidence goes down. They submit easier. They’re less aggressive. You know how defeat feels. If you don’t, you need to do something challenging enough to be defeated. That’s called growth.

Funnily enough, we don’t actually have to go into a defeated state when we’re defeated. It sounds contradictory, but human minds are far more complex than lobsters. We can pick ourselves back up and motivate ourselves to try again against the same thing. In fact, some people have problems with this where they keep trying even when it’s useless to do so. Lobsters… not so much. They’re kind of stupid.

Because we’re able to convince ourselves we haven’t been defeated, we have complete control over whether or not we really are. What Sun Tzu is saying is that if we absolutely refuse to be defeated, nothing can stop that. Defeat is a state of mind, and we can opt out of going there if we so choose. The enemy however, whether it be discipline, another person, or a literal enemy that’s trying to hurt you, gives plenty of opportunities for defeat. Let’s rephrase that — the enemy gives plenty of opportunities for you to show them who’s in charge and who deserves to win.

That’s it. Simple as that. Defeat is a state of mind, and you don’t have to submit to it.




What do you do when you want to quit and accept defeat? How do you stop yourself from doing just that? I’d love to hear what you have to say in the comment section. Also, let me know what you want to hear me write about next! I would also greatly appreciate if you left a like, shared this post with your friends, and followed. It’s absolutely free, and you can always change your mind later if you decide to do so. Also, stay tuned for future blog posts every Monday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, and try to be the reason someone smiles today 🙂