Learning To Win & The Virtues of Failure

Today I took a minute to think about the goals that are written on my wall by my bed, and more importantly, what am I going to do today to become closer to achieving them. I realized in that moment that goals are not always achieved instantly, that it’s unrealistic to expect favorable results every day. My recent “failures” to my surprise, have not felt like shortcomings, but rather events that have made me even hungrier to achieve those goals. So what does that mean for someone one like me, someone who is goal oriented, ambitious, impatient, and likes to “win”? I decided to explore the definition of “goal” and “win”.

Goal- “the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result”
Win- [be successful or victorious in a contest or conflict; to acquire or secure a successful result in a contest, bet, or endeavor]

You may be asking “so, what..?” If you are lucky enough not to have been subject to a philosophical discussion (a.k.a. argument) with me, then you may not know how much I like to win. That feeling of victory, superiority, success and/or adequacy. Interestingly enough, the obvious fact that winning at everything is not realistic can still be a hard concept to come to terms with. Failure is just as much a part of life, progress and everyday life as “winning” is. Sure it’s easy to laugh at yourself for silly failures such as running into a screen door, but sometimes it’s hard to shake those failures that relate to your goals or interests.

I’m learning it’s important to understand what failure means in the overall process. Not only do you learn about what went wrong during failure, you also learn about yourself, people and the world around you. Sometimes the only way to learn (e.g. realize you weaknesses), is through failure. The old adage my parents used to throw around, when I would argue that my failure was in-part from their lack of guidance, comes to mind: “[We] could tell you until [we’re] blue in the face and you still wouldn’t have believed [us].” In that way, failure (personal and sometimes shared) is an intimate experience. It’s a unique experience that differs from person to person. Even in team sports, like basketball, failure is not completely shared. Sure, everyone on the team feels the general effect, but the exact meaning of that failure differs from person to person. From a recent failure, I have realized that goals can be won.

Goals maybe not be achieved today, tomorrow, or exactly when you would like; but if you use your ambition and focus your effort towards your desired result (goal) every day, you are winning every day. A win may be finite, but winning is state of progress that leads to victory. And when the day comes that the road of progression has ended and your goal has been achieved, in that moment, you’ve won.

by Kyle Paya, Four4Life Soldier


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