Picture 5

Why Winning is Overrated

The letter F.

Think about it and two words come to the picture. One of them causes anticipation while the other leads to exasperation. I am going to talk about the latter. The word ‘Failure’!

Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing’. The credit to this infamous quotation usually goes to Henry Russell and Vince Lombardi.
But does or rather should this quotation hold good in all spheres of life?
I, at a personal level feel, there is much beyond winning. Infact, I say the real ecstasy lies beyond winning.

Winning is a destination. We win; we reach the destination. We pause for some time and look for directions to set a new destination. This wonderful, joyous, victorious journey has breaks. While if we simply run after dreams; chase them; we keep moving. Dream after dream we have something to look for, to live for!
Victory is not always in walking up to the stage or standing tallest of the three but often the true pleasure lies in achieving personal milestones; knowing from within that I did my best and I am glad that I did it.

It’s the journey
More than the success itself, it’s the journey that makes it more memorable, more treasured. How many of us talk about the moments we spent on the stage receiving the award? And how many of us feel the constant urge to narrate our stories of the preparation, the struggle, the run and the hard work that led us up to the stage?!

Dame Beryl Bainbridge, who died last year, missed out five times on her country’s most prestigious literary prize, the Booker Prize. She lost it five times. For the same, she was nick named as ‘Booker Bridesmaid’. No author was ever shortlisted as many times as her. Finally, to regard her for her master skills, the Booker Prize Foundation created a special prize, The Man Booker Best of Beryl and asked the public to vote for one of her five shortlisted novels to win the accolades. With public voting, her novel Master Georgia won the honor.

In 1997, just a few days before our school annual function, the school vice-principal called me to his cabin. I entered. He asked me to sit and said, ‘I saw your application for Best All Rounder of the School. Thing is I want and I feel you must win the prize. You deserve it. But.. you are already getting a prize for the ‘Best Pupil Teacher’ so I thought let me give it to xyz. She told me she wanted to get a prize on the Annual Day, desperately. ‘ I kept listening and finally he said, ‘What is it? Just a certificate. You know you deserve it better than anyone. So, if just the piece of paper goes to someone else, it doesn’t bring you down but it will give her happiness. What do you say?’ I nodded, flashed a genuine, broad smile and walked out of the cabin feeling victorious and elated.

My husband, IAS topper (AIR – 6), never talks about how he felt when he got the news or how he feels now, after becoming an IAS officer from a MTD in Air Force. What he always and enthusiastically talks about is how he ran for his dream, how he prepared for it and how he enjoyed the time when no one showed confidence in his dreams but he.

Winning is Within
We know from within when we win. If we give out best, we know we did it – whether we get the desired result or not.
Our ‘self’ is the best judge. Which is why many a times we become devastated at a small failure while very resiliently we deal with relatively bigger failures.

I am able to recollect a beautiful poem written by Antonio Machado –
Last night as I was sleeping
I dreamt – marvelous error! –
That I had a beehive
Here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
Were making white combs
And sweet honey
From my old failures.

Surabhi lives in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, a group of islands in southern India, with her husband and nine month old daughter. She quit a corporate job to focus on her family and enjoy the process of being a mother and a home maker. She believes simply: ‘it is good to live’ and her blog is an attempt to prove it. It is a platform to share thoughts, ideas, happiness and sorrows. She would be delighted if you join it !

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