How you handle 2nd place is more important than winning

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There were lots of winners and losers this week in the world of sports.  It’s definitely better to win, but how the runners up handle finishing 2nd – and the adversity that comes with it – is very telling.

Back on Sunday, Phil Mickelson finished 2nd at the US Open for the 6th time.  Although the hurt and disappointment must have been enormous, Mickelson showed great sportsmanship while finishing 2nd yet again.  He didn’t cry.  He didn’t wine.  He didn’t storm off and ignore the media or fans.  No, Mickelson genuinely congratulated the winner, Justin Rose.

And just last night, 37-year-old Tim Duncan and the San Antonio spurs just missed out on their 5th NBA title in the last 14 seasons.  In losing, Duncan and his coach Greg Popovich, showed their true greatness in the way they handled defeat, congratulating LeBron James and the Miami heat.

Winning is the ultimate.  Vindication for all the hard work you’ve put in.  But how one handles finishing 2nd is maybe more important.  This week Phil Mickelson and Tim Duncan handled 2nd place like champions.