Monday, March 5, 2018

The Triumph of Achievement vs Never Enough

Comparison can be the thief of joy unless...
We shift our perspective to see the triumph of achievement amidst our defeats.
In an increasingly competitive world, sometimes the feelings of "never enough" crowd in and overshadow our own accomplishments. Music festivals, exams, and scholarship opportunities can be a big win or a major blow depending on how students process the results.
My teenage son recently qualified to compete in the State Wrestling Competition as a Freshman.  After my dad heard that he was defeated in both of his wrestling matches he sent a personal message in the mail to him which included this insightful quote.
To the man in the Arena
It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at best knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails at least fails while daring greatly,
so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.
-Theodore Roosevelt

I especially love the phrase"the triumph of high achievement." Only a select few earn the title of 'undefeated' or #1, but the real reward of personally excelling in academics, music, athletics, or any worthy endeavor that requires persistent preparation is the satisfaction of knowing that you gave it your all, you pushed yourself to conquer hard things and personally improved.
I'm not opposed to competition, in fact, I think it can propel us to excellence rather than just muddling in mediocrity.  But how we deal with the results of a competition can determine whether or not we come away "winning" whether or not we win or lose.
I'm grateful for a dad who takes time to teach my children from afar some of the same life lessons he instilled in me as he posted and shared inspiring thoughts throughout our home when I was a child!
I aspire to be the kind of teacher who can help my students feel the "triumph of achievement" in their music lessons as they learn to see their own victories in their musical journey.

1 comment:

  1. This post is just what I needed to read. Great timing! Thanks for sharing!