In Tennis, to win, you must outscore your opponent by hitting or returning the ball more skillfully than the other player can hit the ball themselves. Almost every interaction between the players results in points awarded. This is different than, say, basketball, where if a shot is taken and missed, neither team gets any points. This difference is worth noting because basketball is more forgiving of mistakes in play than Tennis, where the other player doesn’t always need to outplay you, but you can mess up and “give” points to your opponent.

This is the difference between losing and being beaten. Two skillful players can enter the court, and one is outplayed and gets beaten. Two unskilled players enter the court, and, likely, the loser wasn’t necessarily “beaten,” but made too many mistakes and thus lost.

Make this distinction in your own life as well. There are positive messages from both outcomes. In your professional career, hobby, or another arena, if you lose because you made one too many mistakes don’t despair. Your next win is in your control, and practice can hone your abilities to eliminate the frequency of errors slowly. If your opponent beats you, there’s also a positive view here. You can admire your efforts of going against someone of superior skill and, thus, strive and aspire to something greater.

These may seem like rose-tinted perspectives, and they are, but keep these with you the next time you’re facing an opponent- in life, not just sports. Apply this to debates, academic challenges, workplace persuasion, relationship conversations, etc. Be proud of your ability and be aware of losing or being beaten, so you’re better prepared next time.