There is a famous quote I quoted on my senior page by Paul Coelho that goes “You are not defeated when you lose. You are defeated when you quit;” many of us call it quits when we lose either because we are afraid of failing again or putting in the effort again. When I used this quote on my senior page I used it because I inadvertently live by those words. My whole life whenever I fall I muster up enough courage to get back up. Falling is a part of life for me, whether it is a bruise to my head, an insult to my self- esteem, or negative thinking, I get pushed down quite a bit. I am blessed with being resilient enough that getting back up is intuitive for me. But for most getting back up is a more arduous decision.
When I applied to college I submitted a poem patterned on Maya Angelou’s Still I Rise; aside from it being a phenomenal poem it reveals the great perseverance of the human spirit. Although this poem is a personification of slavery, a similar version can be applied to our lives now. Everyone goes through trials and tribulations, some worse than others, some more painful than others, and some longer than others, but this does not diminish the severity of the hardship. So if one can consider this analogy of slavery and see that in spite of all the beatings, shame, and sneers slaves went through the black race thrives and stands tall and applies it to their own life, one can overcome the fear of losing.
I remember coming across a quote while watching a movie, “Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” Though this is a very simplistic quote it is very profound. It is applicable to everyone on a very personal level; fear is one of the things that detracts us from trying and trying again. The wording of this quote seems to make it about a sporting game, but it can be extrapolated to have a wider meaning vis a vie ‘we shouldn’t let our fear of losing, getting rejected, or getting hurt stop us from trying.’
These three verses are inspirational and logical words that can empower us when we feel we are defeated. When we fail or lose at our first attempt to do something we often feel disheartened and lose the desire to try again. When we share our opinion, try to make a sale, try to sing a karaoke song, or make a comment on social media and fail vis a vie receiving a response of ridicule, not meeting expectations, or lose we become disinclined to try again. When I try to kick a ball, hit a ball with a tennis racket, write one page legibly, or play a timed game of Sudoku and lose, fall, or am not able to do it I used to feel ashamed and often got angry at myself, everyone around me, and the game I failed at. Now I am a bit more patient and my anger has diminished due to the understanding that I can only do the best I can.
Losing in public makes it harder to dust off our pants and try again as there is that additional component of having our ego wounded. Losing at something when there are no witnesses is upsetting, as the only expectation we fail to meet is our own, but when we fail in public we not only fail ourselves but also feel embarrassed. Trying again despite the damage to our ego and pride strengthens character and fortitude. Trying again brings us one step closer to breaking out of the chains laden with others’ perception that we shackle ourselves with and one step closer to living for ourselves.
If we let our failures defeat us we become defeatists and will soon assume the philosophy of ‘why bother.’ In high school my friend said something to me that I thought was very profound then; ‘practice makes perfect; but why bother practice if we can not be perfect?’ Perfection is subjective, and being perfect is a term relative to one’s effort. If one has the will and desire continue pursuing something until accomplishment perfection can be possible, but if one quits out of fear or offence failure is impending.
When we try again after we lose, fail, or make a mistake we increase our chances of succeeding; if we don’t we are letting our failures define us. Every second try is an opportunity to learn something new, do it a different way. So don’t be afraid of who is judging you or how you appear; give yourself a second chance at success.