Dead from the Waist Down by Catatonia
2024 / January

Dead from the waist down

Victory is empty

The Retune Blog - 26th January 2024

As a West Ham fan it was amazing last year to see us win a trophy after such a long wait. Victory is not something that you get too used to too often as a Hammer, and as such it was an incredible experience.

I’ve always found it interesting though that for teams that win all the time victory can become less meaningful, and may even become expected rather than a joyful surprise. This leads to a question; does constant victory and success spoil us as humans?

This week’s song, Catatonia’s Dead from the Waist Down, provides a definite response to this question:

Victory is empty. There are lessons in defeat.

I think it’s so true that it is often in getting things wrong that we are able to grow and learn some of the most valuable lessons. Yet this is not to say that making mistakes automatically leads to growth, or that mistakes might not be costly. Rather, the starting point in taking this perspective is that our value is not in perfection but accepting we make mistakes and choosing to positively respond to this. So, what is the best way to learn from our mistakes:

1. Accept our mistakes

Rather than trying to cover up our mistakes, it’s far healthier for us to admit them and accept we made them.

2. Take responsibility

Accepting our mistakes means we may very well have to take responsibility for the consequences and may mean apologising.

3. Analyse what happened

Reflect on what actually happened. Often our initial opinion may not be accurate so take a detailed and critical look.

4. Seek perspective(s)

When we analyse what happened it can sometimes help to get the perspective of others. They may well see what we can’t.

5. Draw lessons

What can you learn from what happened? Was it a one off unique set of circumstances that will never repeat or was there something you could learn from the event?

6. Make a plan for application

Once you have drawn your lessons, think about how you could apply them in the future. What challenges might you face implementing change? What new skills might you need to develop?


So, rather than being too concerned with victory and perfection, it can be far more useful for us to be reflective, compassionate to ourselves, and willing to take responsibility and learn when things don’t go to plan.

Founder and Director of Metanoeo CIC and Metanoeo Coaching. Working with individuals, communities and business to co-create #wellbeing4all through life coaching, resources for living life well and training and supporting life coaches.


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