Wednesday, October 15, 2014

It's Not Whether You Win or Lose, it's how You Play the Game

A Follow Up

Someone brought up a good point to my post titled Validate Me.  That was summed up in this meme:
Not coming out on top in any type of competition, whether it be as an individual or as part as a team; whether it be against another person or a personal goal; is never a bad thing (unless, of course, you're on the losing side of a war I suppose).
Losing causes you to do one of two things: quit, or try harder.
I used to have a saying in the days of yore.  "If you can't stand losing, don't play."
I'm not the best loser.  I'm much better than I used to be, but that's due to age and maturity.  Losing leaves me with an extremely bad taste in my mouth.
I try again.  I try harder.

I'm not a big fan of quitting.  Quitters never win, and all that jazz.
In instilling values in my daughter, I've developed a new phrase, with the help of my wife.  That is to praise her for working hard, not for being smart.  Ie, "Good job!  You worked hard for that!"  As opposed to, "Wow!  You're so smart!"
Praising her for her intelligence may lead her to resting on her laurels.  Praising her for her hard work will cause her continue the pattern of working hard to achieve a goal.
It does matter who wins or lose.  But it also matters how you play the game.  
Before I started running ultras, I had a goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  My first step in that journey was a personal goal to run sub 8:30 min/mile for 26.2 miles.  
That was the hardest I had ever physically worked for anything.  Four months of training.  Twice weekly speed workouts that would leave me feeling as if each breath was fire in my lungs.
I achieved my goal.  At the end of it, I was a quivering, worthless, wasted piece of junk.  My wife had to help me to the car.
I realized, after that effort, that I did not have the desire to attempt to run 7:15 min/mile for 26.2 miles, which is the current standard to qualify.  So I won my personal battle, learned a lesson, and quit.  The lesson that I learned was that I didn't believe that I was gifted enough, athletically, to qualify for the Boston Marathon.  It was a hard lesson to learn, but as the saying goes, "When God closes a door, He opens a window."  That window was into the world of ultra marathons.
But that's a story for another post.
Only I know if I tried as hard as I could.  I'm either satisfied with my effort, or not.  I've done extremely well at something, and still not been pleased with my effort.  
All of these lessons have come over my 37 years of life.  Age and maturity are great teachers.  The best that I can do for my daughter is to try to impart my wisdom to her.  I suppose that's what all good parents do.  
I know how well I listened to my parents when I was a teenager.  
All I can do is raise her the best that I can.  And try to instill in her that hard work is its own reward.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.  But you always come away a better person.

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