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The agony of defeat

There are times in life when you try your best, and you fail.Yes, you gave that race everything you had. You did your workouts, you ate the right food, made sure you were in tip top shape. The day before the race you made sure you rested. That morning you woke up refreshed, knowing you were at your best. Then the race started and try as you might, you just could not catch up to the other runner or runners in front of you. You just had to admit that you were beaten fair and square.

The Thrill of Victory and the Agony of Defeat
Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Your family and friends try their best to cheer you up. They say all the right things, and you manage to get through the afternoon. But in the quiet of your room you ask yourself, what next? You are simply put, in a crisis. Somehow your dreams have been dashed, and you feel completely floored. You are not sure if you know how to get up again, and you are not even sure if you want to try ever again. You begin to tell yourself, perhaps racing was not your passion after all. Perhaps you never had it in you, to begin with. Perhaps you had embarked on a mission that was headed for failure from the beginning. Perhaps your family and friends knew all along that you just did not have what it takes. It just could be, that all this time they did not know how to break the news to you gently.

At that moment you wish you could disappear. You feel like a fool. You feel as if you messed up really badly. You feel alone.

Surprisingly, you are not alone. Those feelings of doubt and uncertainty come to many who set goals. Goal setting is important. It gives you purpose, something to work towards. It gives you stability, and it develops character. But there is always the danger that you will walk away from your goals in a moment of weakness, or uncertainty.

What happens next is all up to you. You can decide that goal was not worthwhile to begin with. You can decide you will no longer pursue that goal, even if it is worthwhile. You can decide you do not have what it takes to achieve it. Or you can recognize that these moments of doubt might come from time to time, but you have to press on.

When you press on, there is always that chance that you can accomplish your goal. If it is worthwhile, if it is attainable, why not press on? You have to be honest with yourself, and with your setbacks, and examine the situation to see if pursuing your goal is still a worthwhile endeavor.

If your answer is yes, then you have to examine the situation carefully. Examine why you failed to achieve the goal this time. Examine what you need to do to achieve it next time. Readjust your time limits, readjust your plans if you must. But by all means do not give yourself the option of quitting.

You will be amazed to discover that even time away can reenergize you. Perhaps you just need a break, or a different perspective. Give yourself the time you need. Perhaps you might even want to try something else for a time.

Revisit the scene of failure several times if necessary. Try and learn all the lessons there are to learn. Then close that chapter and start a new one. New determination, new purpose, even new limits, can change your agony of defeat into hope, and eventually, victory.

Ultimately, being honest with yourself, and with your feelings, and yes, being honest with those around you about what you are experiencing, will in the end, get you through these tough moments in your life. They will shape your character, give you depth, resilience, fortitude.Before long you will be recognized as someone who has a winning spirit, and a positive outlook on life.

Dreams are still capable of changing into reality. Dream on, hope on, live on. Do not give into the urge to quit. Press on! Keep trying, keep running. You owe it to yourself. Strive to be all that you can be!