If you’ve ever felt like a bit of a loser, firstly, I think that a lot of us have likely felt that way at some point or another.
Secondly, the simple fact that you’ve even pondered it, highlights one of the reasons you are probably not a loser.
Why? Because I’m not sure real losers actually ever see themselves as such.
So, what makes a loser a loser?
Some people may argue it’s the car you drive, the job you have, or whether you still live at home with your parents at the age of 45. But these are just surface markers that don’t define us.
Surely what makes someone a loser (or a success) in life goes so much deeper to our core.
In this article, I’ll run through 13 traits that I think will turn anyone into a real loser in life.
How do I know if I am a loser?
The times in my life when I’ve felt like a loser have happened when I tried to measure myself with the wrong scale.
What I mean by that is, I’ve taken an outside look at other people’s lives and concluded that in comparison I don’t stack up somehow.
They’ve achieved something I haven’t, they earn money that I don’t, they have a relationship status I wished I had.
I don’t know if you can relate, but you end up throwing so many “shoulds” at yourself — I “should” have this, I “should” be here by now — that you never stand a chance under the weight of all the unfair expectations.
A loser is a person who is ultimately a bit worthless. But what defines someone’s worth?
I think you can have millions in the bank, be at the top of your field and still be a bit of a loser.
Ultimately in life, it’s not our ever changing external life circumstances that really define us, surely it’s our character.
So if you’re wondering if you’re destined to be a loser, it’s more about the qualities you embody and who you chose to be.
13 signs of being a loser
1) Playing the victim
A loser may feel like life is against them. They can’t seem to catch a break. Bad things happen to them and they are always at the mercy of life.
Of course, some people really have been dealt a far worse hand than others. Yet, there are plenty of people who still manage to create success and happiness out of the worst conditions.
Winners take full responsibility for themselves, rather than always seeing everything as somebody else’s fault. Losers are unable to see that a victim mentality is the very attitude that keeps them stuck.
If we give other people power over our lives or feel dependent on how they behave to make us happy — it’s never going to end well.
Getting lost in self-pity, martyrdom, and telling yourself “woe is me” delays you from getting around to the important work of improving your life.
And at the end of the day, nobody else is going to do it for you.
2) Giving up
No matter how much positive thinking you practice, let’s face it, life is hard sometimes. But when faced with challenges we only ever really have two choices.
We can either accept, deal with and move on from what has floored us or we quit and become defeated by it.
Of course, we’ve all felt pretty defeated by life at some point but winners eventually pick themselves up and start looking for solutions.
For example, if you feel like you don’t have any real friends — that certainly doesn’t make you a loser (it’s actually really common). But resigning yourself to a fate of loneliness when you want to make better connections does.
Losers convince themselves that nothing will ever change, so they give up on what matters most to them before they’ve even tried.
As the powerful Japanese proverb goes, “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.”
Successful people understand that failing and falling are only a part of their journey. They have cultivated enough resilience so that they refuse to give up hope — which strengthens them to keep on striving.
3) Constant negativity
Last year, I tried to go a whole week without complaining and it was tough. I think we don’t even spot how much negativity falls out of our mouths on a daily basis.
Whilst having a bit of a moan can feel habitual at times, constant complaining is not only bad for your health but even rewires your brain.
For some people, negativity is so deeply ingrained that it puts a dark cloud over everything they do.
You know, those people who never have a good word to say. I call them “negaholics” because negativity and complaining are almost an addiction.
Losers manage to completely miss the bright side and promptly arrive at why everything and everyone sucks.
It’s an exhaustingly heavy energy to be around and that excessive complaining just makes life worse.
4) Being totally self-absorbed
An inability to give a damn about anybody but yourself leads to a very shallow existence.
Even if you’ve climbed “to the top” by stepping on countless others along the way, it doesn’t matter what material gains you make, you’re still a loser where it counts.
Sometimes egocentric qualities can even seem to be traits that drive success in some people, but I guess it depends on your definition of “success”.
A feeling of contributing and caring for others has been shown to be important for our happiness.
Tom Rath in his book ‘It’s Not About You: A Brief Guide to a Meaningful Life’ put it this way:
“Your life has an unknown expiration date. Your efforts and contributions to others do not. The time, energy and resources you invest in people you care for and your community keep growing forever.”
We’re always told how a healthy self-esteem is so important, so when does that cross over into arrogance?
Being unpleasantly proud or feeling like you’re better than everybody else might look like a mask of confidence from the outside, but I suspect it’s actually anything but.
Whenever I’ve looked down on people, it has served a purpose of helping to inflate my own ego and make them wrong and me right — so ultimately boiled down to a sign of my own insecurity.
Real winners in life don’t need to be cocky or full of themselves because they don’t have anything to prove.
Their sense of self or success comes from within and doesn’t feel threatened by others, which allows them to be humble.
6) Zero self-awareness
I mentioned in the intro that most people who have ever questioned if they are a bit of a loser, probably aren’t.
That’s because even just the self-awareness to look for negative qualities or circumstances in our own life suggests a level of sensitivity.
The chances are that it doesn’t even dawn on real losers that there is anything wrong with them. They have an inability to analyze themselves with any degree of objectivity or perspective.
If you are able to contemplate yourself and how your actions, thoughts, or emotions do or don’t align with your internal standards — this really is 90% of the battle when it comes to change.
We can’t ever make positive changes until we can see a problem. Having zero self-awareness is an invisible prison that keeps you stuck where you are.
7) Narrow mindedness and an unwillingness to listen to others
I’m right, you are wrong and I don’t wanna hear it. Losers seem to know it all and will fight to “defend” their perspective.
Differences of opinions are natural, the world is full of points of view. The “truth” is actually a lot harder to define in many situations than we might expect.
But losers are unprepared to even consider someone else’s side of things, preferring to vilify or blame them.
The older I’ve got the more I’ve realized how very little I actually know, but I see this as progress. I used to have such a long list of “rights and wrongs” that only gave me tunnel vision.
I’m sure that striving to try and understand other people and learn from their experiences will be a lifelong journey for me — but one worth taking.
A lack of tolerance for others or an inability to listen can be destructive to not just our own lives, but everyone around us as well as the societies we belong to.
8) Extreme vanity
There’s loving yourself, and then there’s LOVING yourself.
I’m not talking about wanting to look nice on a night out or letting loved ones know your fantastic exam results — which falls under healthy self-esteem.
But the irony is that excessive pride or admiration for how you look or what you achieve is actually quite ugly and may even spill over into narcissism.
According to Psychological and Brain Sciences professor Susan Krauss Whitbourne, it’s also most likely a sign of some deep-rooted insecurity:
“People who are constantly bragging about their great lifestyle, their elite education, or their fantastic children may very well be doing so to convince themselves that they really do have worth.”
The more you feel the need to big yourself up, the chances are the more of a loser you feel deep down.
When we feel good about ourselves, we don’t usually feel the need to prove anything to anyone else.
9) Bitching about people
I read that gossiping serves some kind of social function.
Research has suggested it can stave off loneliness, facilitate bonding and act as a form of entertainment. I wonder if there’s anyone who could proudly raise their hand and say that they have never participated in gossip. I certainly couldn’t.
But any purpose it has, there’s also clearly a much darker side to it.
Unkindness, meanness, or even cruelty towards other people, whether that is to their face or behind their back is pretty much just bullying.
Nobody is perfect and I’m sure most of us have hurt someone we care about with our words, but only losers actually feel good about tearing other people down.
10) Absence of integrity
A loser’s moral compass is flexible depending on what suits them best at the time.
They may be easily prepared to forsake their values or the people and things they believe in.
If you’re prepared to lie, cheat and sacrifice whatever you once held dear in order to “succeed”, then no matter what you gain, in many people’s eyes, you’ll still be the biggest loser they know.
11) Disrespecting yourself and others
Disrespect might be being rude, angry, or generally emotionally unaware when you’re speaking to others — but it equally applies to how you treat yourself too.
If you don’t believe in or respect yourself, you’re going to find you always seem to end up on the losing side of life.
Without setting healthy boundaries, it’s easier for other people to manipulate or take advantage of you.
Without a strong sense of self-worth, it’s difficult to find the courage to go after what you want in life and believe it is possible for you or that you deserve it.
Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy and our own behaviour is the most disrespectful that we tolerate — whether it is through destructive habits or unkind self-talk.
12) A total lack of any purpose
Before writing this article, I was doing some research to see what qualities people thought were signs of being a loser.
I noticed that quite a few viewed a lack of ambition or absence of goals as loser behaviour. But I’m not so convinced.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a beautiful thing when someone feels passionate, inspired, and motivated to achieve anything. I love the dreamers and doers who have big ideas and plans. If you have them, then great, go after them.
But I think that many of us also feel pressured to accomplish things in life, in order to feel good enough. Like we always should be working towards something momentous.
What if you don’t have any specific ambitions? Does that make you a loser?
I really don’t think it does. I think the real problem arises when we can’t find meaning from anything in our life. That is often when we feel lost, stuck or apathetic.
Experts tend to agree that seeking meaningfulness in life is even more important than happiness.
But I wonder if the trick is actually to discover meaning in everything we do and find purpose in the smallest of things. That way we see everyday life as the miracle that it actually is.
In a way, maybe finding purpose is an exercise in mindfulness rather than in acquisition. In the words of spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle:
“Doing is never enough if you neglect Being. The ego knows nothing of being but believes you will eventually be saved by doing. If you are in the grip of the ego, you believe that by doing more and more you will eventually accumulate enough ‘doings’ to make yourself feel complete at some point in the future. You won’t. You will only lose yourself in doing. The entire civilization is losing itself in doing that is not rooted in Being and thus becomes futile.”
13) Being entitled and spoiled
Spoiled people are losers because they will never be satisfied.
Feeling a sense of expectation from others around you or society, in general, is a quick route to disappointment.
If you are unable to feel grateful for what you have, it doesn’t matter how much you get out of life, you’ll always feel frustrated and lacking.
The incredible thing about gratitude is that it actually makes you happier.
Is it OK to be a loser?
I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly no saint, and I know I’ve been guilty of (and am still working on) some of these loser traits on the list.
Hey, we’re all only human and life is one giant classroom.
Maybe it’s ok to be a bit of a loser from time to time — it’s actually how we learn and grow.
It’s only not ok to be a loser if you know that you are guilty of some pretty shitty behaviour but make no attempts to do anything about it.
None of us are born winners or losers. It’s how we choose to respond to what happens in life and make the decision to change.
I guess the good news then is that we actually have full control over whether we end up being a loser or not.