Letters to My Children: Try Your Hardest, But Know You May Still Fail

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One of the hardest things to accept is that the good guys do not always win. They don't always wear white, and they don't always win. In the same train of thought, you can try your hardest, you can give it your all until you have nothing left, and you still might fail.

You can have the biggest heart, the most passion, and the strongest desire.

And you still might fail.

A sad fact of life is that even when you try very hard, you may not always get the results you want. It's going to happen, my child. You will fail.

Aw, Mom, I hear you whining. Why are you such a downer? Why do you have to tell me this? You're supposed to cheer me on. You're supposed to always tell me to keep trying, never give up, try harder, better luck next time, chin up kiddo, I'll get them next time.

And I will. I'll keep telling you these things. I'll keep singing positive songs, cheering you on, encouraging you to be more than either I or your father could have imagined.

But I'll also tell you that the reality is you will fail over and over and over again.

What you do after you fail reflects more of who you really are than any victory could ever do.

Because this is the way it is, kid. Everyone fails at some point. Professional baseball players miss the ball 7 out of every 10 times they step up to the plate. And those are the good ones!

Professional (American) football players need 4 tries to move the ball 10 yards. 4 tries! With flags and penalties, they often get more. And even with those four tries, they will fail to score more times than they will succeed.

How many track runners are this close to being the best? This close? A lot. And you won't hear about them, because being this close is still not at the top. But they are still damn fine runners.

And those are just athletic performances. The same is true with academic trials or even affairs of the heart.

In any competition with a zero sum game, one with a winner and a loser, there will be one side that wanted that win just as much as the other side, but just didn't make it. Some of those wins will be heart-breakers. You can work for something for weeks, months, years, and, for whatever reason, still not achieve it.

It'll happen. But, here's the difference between the loser of that competition and a loser: how you view that competition afterwards. If you let that moment define who you are, if you believe that you are a failure, then all is lost. If, instead, you recognized you failed, and that it was the action and not the person, you can keep trying. You can keep going. You can become the success you are destined to be.

Don't let that one performance define who you are.

You are not a failure. You will fail, but you are not a failure.