This I Believe

Alex - Orem, Utah
Entered on May 25, 2007

I used to be all caught up in what the world thought was important. I, like most people thought that if I wasn’t a winner, if I wasn’t the very best at everything, then I was something much, much less. To society I really might be much less, probably ignored; but I can’t let other people dictate the person I really am. I’m fed up with it. There’s so much more to the nature of success than gold, silver, and bronze. I believe that winning isn’t everything.

I’ve found winners to be the people in life that work hard, persist, and stumble upon four-leaf clovers. My grandfather was an old Arizona boy who grew up to be a boiler maker. Today I see him as a winner and most of all, a friend. When his steelyard business was still young, he turned over the reins to his son who was barely strong enough to hold on. Big risk. While my grandpa was away for a few years, things out of his control became all the better for him as his son quickly grew in experience. Upon his return, his son had doubled his company. It’s possible that my grandpa would have returned and improved the business on his own; it’s also possible that while gone, his business could’ve fallen to pieces. I believe luck is a big factor when it comes to making winners.

In the future I know that luck and misfortune will crawl their way up to my doorstep. When it is misfortune, I won’t open the door. Don’t get me wrong I’ll try my best, but when misfortune knocks, I don’t have to listen to him tell me I’m not good enough.

The whole world–or at least our culture–puts too much emphasis on being that invincible poster-boy champion who is better than all. These proud, ambitious ideas used to oppress me. Not anymore. Because one day I heard what John Wooden’s father told him when he was very young, “You’re as good as anyone else,” he said, “but you’re never better than they are.” I came to realize that sometimes I would be the winner, and other times the loser. I’m equal to everyone. Sure I don’t have all the same tools as the next guy, but I have my own custom Craftsman set.

It was a bit depressing to discover that I would never be the world’s greatest of all time. Absolute superiority does not exist. There is only a constant exchange of winner and loser. My focus should then be on competing and having fun. Clearly winning and losing will take care of themselves.

Many times upon being defeated, I’ve felt more effort could have been done on my part. However when I step back and listen to reason, most of the time I’ve done all that is humanly possible. And when I’ve done that, come Gold, Silver, Bronze, or dirt, I believe there’s nothing else that really matters.