As with much of our philosophy we can thank the ancient Greeks for the concept of the Phoenix, something (or someone) who rises from the ashes of defeat to be even better than before. Or as we all remember our parents attempting to convince us, we learn more from defeat than victory. This provides scant solace at the time of a loss or an embarrassment but most of us eventually see the validity of wisdom born of hardship and the shallowness of temporary acclaim.
It is likely you are already aware that Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936) and Teddy Roosevelt (1858-1919) among many others have already written about these concepts and certainly more presciently than I. Kipling in his poem If advised his son and the rest of us:
“If you can dream and not make dreams your master,
If you can think and not make thoughts your aim,
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster and
Treat those two imposters just the same, ….
Then you will be a man my son.”
Teddy Roosevelt in his thesis, The Man in the Arena, wrote of greatness born of failure:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”
Naturally, winners of elections are justly elated and losers are hurt and depressed. I have lost an election and have won some. What I discovered was my loss and my victories had less to do with me than with the vicissitudes of a fickle electorate. Most voters had no idea who I was and both the victories and the loss were mostly happenstance.
On the other hand, for our democracy to endure someone has to be willing to suffer the slings, arrows, and expense of running for office. So, to all those who cared enough and dared enough to seek to serve the rest of us, both winners and others, I say, Thank You!