Gain vs Loss

Thus, one gains by losing, and loses by gaining.
Lao Tzu

When I first read this paradoxical quote from the Tao Te Ching, it didn’t make sense to me at all. As I thought about it more and more, I realised…we gain when we lose, and lose when we gain. The beauty of this one line is that we gain and lose at the same time. It is the natural order of things.

Bear with me a moment…picture a glass half-filled with water. As more water is poured in (gain), it reaches the brim of the glass and the excess overflows (loss). Similarly, when water is poured out (loss), this allows more water to fill the glass (gain).

As with the glass of water, we need to be more aware of how much is in our lives (friends, hobbies, social media accounts, money) and really contemplate whether we have too much, too little, or if we’re ‘just right’.

When we take on more tasks or responsibilities at work, are we lessening the quality of work we produce? When we begin a new regular activity like a hobby or gym, are we taking time away from our partner or family? If you gain more income from your investments, are your stress levels decreasing? What about new friends (losing old ones), more clothes (less value), or a bigger house (less income)?

The list can go on and on.

Here’s a little challenge for you today, consciously think about what you’re gaining and losing. Really think about what you’re gaining and what your loss could be. It can be minuscule or life changing, either way you are gaining or losing. What are you losing when you gain that second (or third) cupcake? What are you gaining when you lose your cool with the person in front of you?

It’s hard to decide what is right or wrong here. What’s right for you might be wrong for me, so I can’t answer any of the questions I’ve asked you today. It’s up to you to ask yourself the tough questions and determine whether what you’re gaining or losing is worth it.