Quote misattributions intrigue me—especially ambiguous ones that are credited to multiple persons.

Misattributions are different than misquotes in that misquotes are when inaccurate words are attributed to the right person. Misattributions are when accurate words are attributed to the wrong person.

Quote Investigator points out that despite frequently receiving attribution, Oscar Wilde wasn’t the person who said “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.”

Nor was Albert Einstein the person who said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

And Mark Twain never said, “A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting its shoes on.” For what it’s worth, neither did Thomas Jefferson nor Winston Churchill—even though both are also often given credit.

One of my favorite quote misattributions is “You never lose. You either win or you learn.” A quick Google search shows it being attributed to everyone from Nelson Mandela to Gray Keller to John Calipari. So who knows who said it first?

The issue of attribution aside, I find the fact that you learn the same four things through winning as you do through losing to be equally intriguing.

In victory you learn…

1. Humility. Winning teaches you how to accept honors with grace. Acting cocky, arrogant, egotistical, or ungrateful will alienate those who helped you succeed.

2. Who Your Real Friends Are. Winning exposes jealousy. Your real friends won’t resent your success; they’ll be happy for you.

3. Assessment. Winning allows you to discover what you did well.

4. An Appreciation for Luck. Winning shows the role luck plays in success. For teams to win, the stars must align. Injuries, illnesses, and absences can adversely affect the chances of that happening. And so can weather, equipment failures, and what kind of day a referee, umpire, or judge is having. Not every element of winning is within the competitor’s control.

In defeat you learn…

1. Humility. Losing teaches you to temper your emotions. Acting entitled, disrespectful, unsportsmanlike after a loss will brand you a sore loser.

2. Who Your Real Friends Are. Losing exposes jealousy. Your real friends won’t rejoice in your failure; they’ll comfort you.

3. Assessment. Losing allows you to discover what you need to do better.

4. An Appreciation for Luck. Losings shows the role luck plays in failure. Sometimes the stars don’t align. Ill-timed injuries, illnesses, and absences happen. Equipment can breakdown. Bad weather can pop up. And referees, umpires, and judges can have bad days. Not every element of losing is within the competitor’s control.

Good teammates value what can be learned through both winning and losing. They understand that sometimes competition is more about the journey than the outcome.

Feel free to attribute that line to your favorite teammate. They may not have explicitly said it, but I’m certain they personify it.

As always…Good teammates care. Good teammates share. Good teammates listen. Go be a good teammate.

Lance Loya is the founder and CEO of the Good Teammate Factory and the creator National Be a Good Teammate Day. He is a former sports coach turned bestselling author, blogger, and professional speaker, who inspires TEAMBUSTERS to become TEAMMATES. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or through his weekly Teammate Tuesday blog.

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