Why We Hate Losing More Than We Love Winning
I’m a sore loser. It can be in business, video games, sports or even a chugging contest; I don’t like the feeling of losing. I go into everything expecting to win. I know it isn’t the right thing to do (see last week’s Hope vs. Expect article) but I just can’t do something with the mindset of accepting failure.
You often hear so many people talk about how much they love winning but rarely do you hear about how bad someone hates losing even though it’s a stronger emotion. Something called loss aversion is a theory that claims people would rather avoid a loss than claim a win. In lament’s terms, it’s worse to fail at something than it is great to win at something.
Professor Kanheman, a professor from Princeton University, has come to the conclusion that people hate losing 2-3 times as much as they love winning. Don’t believe him? Here’s proof:
Let’s say that you were offered a bet where if a coin landed on tails, you would lose $10. What would you have to win if the coin landed on heads in order to participate in the gamble? Think of a number in your head. Got it?
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We’re willing to bet it was between $20-$30.
If the number you thought of was anywhere between $0.01-$9.99, you love winning more than you hate losing. If the number was $10 exactly, you hate losing and love winning equally the same. If the number was $10.01-$19.99, you hate losing more than you love winning but not as much as the average person. The $20-$30 range is where most of us fall as Kanheman’s claim is proven true. Finally, if you said anything over $30, you really hate losing and most likely become a scary person if you lose in something.
Here’s another example: imagine that your landlord calls to say that he’s giving you a $25 discount this month for being such a model resident. You’d be happy, right? Now, imagine that your landlord calls to inform you that this month’s rent only will cost an extra $25 but he’s waiving this extra fee for you. You’d be ecstatic, right? You’d be saving the same amount of money in both scenarios but avoiding the loss ultimately makes us feel better than the discount does.
The feeling of losing is stronger than the feeling of winning.
I thought I was just a sore loser all these years but it turns out a ton of people are in the same boat as me. Use your hatred of losing as motivation and once you stop losing, learn to love winning so you can stay on top.