Every single human being was born with an innate drive to succeed and accomplish something. Move forward. Make something. Crawl. Get up. Walk. Survive. Our lives are filled with examples of us simply going for something. That is what gives our lives purpose and meaning. We need something to look forward to and get us up in the morning. We are always working hard to get things. We all want to win. I mean, who aspires to fail? No one I know. When you train for a race, you see yourself finishing strong. You see yourself winning. Well life is kind of like a race. But you don’t always win.
So what happens when you fail miserably at the things you work so hard to achieve?
Man. Question of our lives, right? Well some of our lives. Some people literally seem like they succeed at everything they do. All the more so when that someone else succeeds at everything you wanted but failed miserably at. It is a law of the world that when you lose, someone else wins and vise-versa. Whatever you want, someone else wants it just as bad, if not more. No matter how good you have it, someone else always has it better. The same can be said about you wanting and having more than another, etc. These calculations are our downfall! So in this day and age, it is becoming increasingly difficult to succeed when everyone around you wants the same thing.
Have you ever watched the beginning of an IRONMAN® triathlon? It looks a little something like this. Take hundreds of people and tell them to go in a certain direction at the same time within a determined space. Imagine what occurs…Yep! Kicking and fighting and thrashing and pushing and pulling and someone might even drown in the process. All for the sake of “friendly” competition – a race. But that is sort of how life works…especially as a young adult trying to find his way in these, some of the most important and formative years of his life.
In a world where it seems like some are destined to fail, why then are we all programmed with such an intense desire to achieve? We already decided that it is a law of the world that someone must lose. That person could be you. It is probably me. And him and her and them too. When the odds are 50/50 of you getting something, statistics say that you actually have only a 20% chance of getting it. How does that even mathematically make sense? Simply put, by grand design, in life we are likely to lose the majority of the time.
Alright, Dill. I’ve about had enough of your pessimism. What are we supposed to do then?
These words will forever ring true: “Just keep swimming.” If you don’t, you will die (quite literally in my IRONMAN® example). From personal experience, the only answer is to keep going. The point is that there is no answer and there is nothing that you can do about it. The only thing you have to do is keep going. In reality there is no other circle of influence than the space between your own two feet. You are only in charge of you. When the going gets tough, the tough keep going. Only you can decide your options. You can quit, get out of town, curse, sell something, whatever it is. That is okay, but you must keep going. The saying, “Win who wins, you always lose” seems true when you are feeling down, but it isn’t true at all. It is so hard to remember that sometimes. The real saying should be, “Win who wins, you keep going.”
That is what makes champions, and don’t forget that not all champions have medals and rings. Not all winners have trophies and awards. Not all talented musicians score million dollar record contracts. Not all brilliant scientists win the Nobel Prize. If that were the case, then the world wouldn’t be very interesting. Simply put, life needs to suck now and then. We will lose and probably lose often. That is what makes us human.
If you achieve what you want, that is awesome. You probably deserve it. If you deserve what you want and you fail, then keep going. That is the only answer. Rudy Ruettiger got in to Notre Dame his fourth try. But plenty of other people still get rejected their fourth try. And every try. So when someone tells you that you will achieve what you want, they are lying. Odds are you won’t. But if you just keep going, then eventually you will arrive at something great. Is it too much to ask for something great? It probably won’t be what you want. It probably won’t be what I want. But in that day, we will recognize it as such. A great thing. And it is the process and experience that will make it that way. So keep going my friend. Keep swimming, carry on, and keep going. In the end there is nothing else we can do.