The gainful loss

The gainful loss

Ali Hassan Bangwar May 19, 2024
The writer is a freelancer based in Kandhkot, Sindh. He can be reached at


While everyone tends to seek gains and dislike losses, a question often goes unattended: do these experiences truly serve us in the deepest sense? In other words, do all gains and losses always translate to good and bad, respectively? Are all victories worth celebrating, and are all setbacks to be mourned? Are there any exceptions to this binary? Perhaps, in some instances, these experiences have a more paradoxical impact on our lives. Agreed, the gains often reward our efforts, while losses can feel like curses. However, both can bring implicit messages and prospective growth. Don’t they? Indeed, gains can come at a cost, and even losses can offer unexpected rewards. That’s exactly right. Do gains cost us too? Do losses pay us too? Hold on. They do.

Have you ever felt or experienced a job, thing, or person weighing you down or constraining your aspirations? Have you ever found yourself constrained and suffocated in where you are and couldn’t help questioning if you are for where you are? The organisation one works in, the people one is surrounded by, and the things one holds dearer are the ones that have a considerable say in mapping and shaping the course and contour of one’s life. If one chooses a stimulating and encouraging environment instead, one can keep growing in line with one’s ability-driven aspirations and ever-evolving dynamics. For that, one has to sacrifice some of the gains. That is for a reason.

Growth, evolution and unparalleled achievement all require venturing beyond the familiar. They can’t be attained by following the well-worn path, sticking to routine efforts, or clinging to the past. While your current success might make you the most accomplished among your peers, rigidly holding onto it and resisting change will likely prevent you from maintaining that position. Wouldn’t it? Therefore, holding on to some of the timely gains, people and things often deprive us of the potential and timeless achievements.

That is, establishing a delicate balance between stability and change demands dynamic thought and action. Unless we cede space for the changes to unleash by letting loose of what we firmly hold on, stagnation would turn out to be the sustainable fate. We cannot simultaneously hold onto the sources of both stagnation and growth. The price of each is the other. Therefore, we have to sacrifice, to a large extent, one for the other.

A friend, for instance, who knows no worth to you, displays envy towards where you are, or struggles for it isn’t a friend of yours in reality. Isn’t it? Isn’t parting ways with such people a gain? The people who aren’t yours aren’t meant for you. Are they? Losing the people, things and positions that weigh us down isn’t a loss in the true sense. Instead, they are the gainful losses. Wouldn’t this create space for potential people with a positive impact on your life? Even if you don’t get one, you would get time and space for yourself to befriend you. Identifying with you. And yes, owning the otherwise disowned self. Similarly, the people you deserve are the ones who deserve you. They would never be a source of constraint. A real friend or well-wisher is bound to enrich you with recognition of who you are and encourage you to become who you deserve. Don’t they?

Sometimes, the things and people we hold around us as inevitable are but evitable. That is, they are often our obsessions that we deem critical for survival. However, they are usually the source of survival for our obsessions alone. We need to distinguish between our needs and our obsessions. And if we fail to differentiate between our obsessions and the dynamic needs for growth and evolution, our lives will revolve around the axis of stagnation, no matter how glorious this axis might be for the time being.

Everything or everyone that weighs one down or discourages is a loss disguised as gain; therefore, it’s loss would help us gain dynamic gains worth owing for the time being, to say the least. In this scenario, one has to choose between already-owned gains and growth. However, evolution and growth demand letting loose of what we firmly hold on and ceding space for newer and better experiences, things, and social connections to make inroads in our lives.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2024.

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