“The pursuit of our dreams is not without any difficulty. Those who triumph have learned to overcome the difficulty.” ~ Lailah Gifty Akita
Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t sugar coated things because sometimes that makes matters worse. Truth and reality may be difficult, but deception and misinformation have the potential to kill.
There has been a growing trend in recent years. Many people, myself included, scoffed at it in the beginning. Now that it seems to have picked up steam, it’s not so much a laughing matter. It’s the “everybody gets a prize” theory, even if that person loses. I’ve seen arguments for and against this theory. Now it’s time for a little truth. My next statement might sting a little so brace yourself.
Not everyone who gets a prize wins. Sometimes they actually lose, even if that person gets a prize for losing.
I remember, as a kid, my sister and I played board games with our parents. Sometimes my sister or I would win, but sometimes one of our parents won. When that happened, my sister and I didn’t pitch a fit, flip over the board game or picked up our toys and left. No, we accepted our loss and set the board up to play again.
When I was in elementary school, we had these yearly physical education competitions. I don’t remember winning at many of the events. I didn’t get a trophy, but I got the occasional a ribbon. If I didn’t get a ribbon, I got a certificate for participating. I was bummed out but I didn’t pitch a fit, cry or stomp off the field. I accepted that I wasn’t as good as the other kids and I knew it.
In junior high school, I had really good grades. They were so good that I was in the honor society for 2 years. Starting the following year, my grades weren’t good enough and I didn’t make the honor roll after that. I didn’t lay down a pitch a fit in the middle of the hallway. I took my lumps and accepted that I was going to have to study better and harder.
Then, in high school, I wanted a letter jacket so I could fit in with the cool kids. I knew I could get one if I played sports. So, I tried out for a couple of sports teams but I wasn’t good enough to make the team. I was disappointed, but I didn’t scream and cry or stomp my feet over it. I just practiced and tried harder the next time there were tryouts.
A couple of years later, I found out I could get my letter jacket if I took a certain number of music classes. When it was time to make my schedule out for my senior year with my guidance counselor, she told me some bad news. She informed me that I’d have to give up one of my music classes so I could take another class I needed to graduate. I weighed my choices between graduating and letter jacket. I eventually decided that graduation was more important than a silly jacket, but, just like the other times, I didn’t pitch a fit. I sucked it up and took the class I needed to take so I could graduate.
That year our band was entered into a national contest which was held about 8 hours away. We ended up in 3rd or 4th place. No we didn’t win but we as a team got a little 3” high trophy. Were we disappointed that we lost? Sure we were, but we were also proud of ourselves and how far we made it. By the way, I forgot to mention that we were a very small school, from a small town that no one even heard of. To give you an idea of how small our class was, there was about 80 kids in each grade.
By now you’re probably wondering what my point is to my trip down memory lane. I have a couple of them actually, rather lessons that I learned from not winning. The first thing I learned when I was young is that in life there are winners and losers. Not everyone who participates in a competition gets a prize, and that’s ok. You just practice and try harder the next time you try out.
My second point is that, when I didn’t get rewarded for losing, I actually won in the end. Sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? So how did I win when in reality I lost? Simple. I learned to not pitch a fit when I lost or didn’t get what I wanted in life because of a quote I heard. “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” by Henry Grantland Rice. The way I played the game showed my character. By not being a sore loser I was humble and I played with integrity.
Finally, and perhaps most important, I learned that sometimes when I don’t win a competition or get what I want, it may be a blessing for any number of reasons. Alexander Graham Bell once said, “When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.” Looking back on all those times that I didn’t get a job I really wanted, got dumped by a boyfriend, had my house fire, got divorced, or any other life on life’s terms stuff, I was understandably upset. However, I learned to pick myself up by my bootstraps and either try again or shift gears altogether. Eventually I’ve seen the blessings in each case.
“Practice makes perfect” was a phrase I heard quite frequently from all the adults in my life while was growing up. I used to hate hearing it because sometimes, no matter how much I practiced or tried, I wasn’t good enough. Despite all that, I grew without even realizing it. I learned to become a stubborn, perseverant, independent woman who learned that it really isn’t whether I win or lose, it’s how I play the game.
Thought for the day: I thought I’d close this with a few inspirational and motivating quotes:
“Failure is an opportunity to learn again” ~ Bangambiki Habyarimana
“True success is the achievement of many failures” ~ Válgame
“Don’t fear mistakes, they are your stepping stone to success” ~ Bangambiki Habyarimana
“Success sits on a mountain of mistakes” ~ Bangambiki Habyarimana
“Success in life is not for those who run fast, but for those who keep running and always on the move.” ~ Bangambiki Habyarimana
***Please be sure to read more of my posts