By B. Lynn Goodwin.
“You don’t lose until you quit trying,” my boyfriend, Richard, keeps telling me. It sounds too easy. It seems too simple. The more I see him put it into action, though, the more his words make sense.
The first time I heard his claim, I said, “You’d better check with Hillary Clinton. Remember how badly she’d wanted the Democratic nomination in 2008?”
“She didn’t quit trying,” he said. “Instead, she became Secretary of State.”
I hadn’t thought of it that way, but he gave me a new perspective. I figured that Hillary Clinton’s defeat was a prime example of giving a cause your all and losing despite it. I’d never thought about what she gained or how she might have a more far-reaching influence as Secretary of State than she would have as President. Richard’s glass is always half full.
He reminds me of Kathie, an educator I worked with in an adult literacy program ten years ago. She was doing an intake with a dyslexic woman named Marty who’d sat in the back of every class and hid behind a book or retied her shoelaces whenever the teacher looked at her. Over and over, Marty said, “This time I’ll try harder.”
Kathie knew that trying harder wouldn’t solve anything. Marty processed print differently from most people. She needed different tools for decoding words, and they hadn’t existed when she was in school. Once she learned some new tools, her efforts began paying off.
“Why don’t you try differently?” Kathie suggested during her intake.
Marty’s face lit up. “Can you teach me how to do that?”
Have you ever let go of a job, a relationship, or a promise? Why? If it’s because you weren’t getting the results you wanted, consider adopting both Richard’s and Kathie’s approach to life:
- You don’t lose until you quit trying. ~~Richard
- Don’t try harder. Try differently. ~~Kathie
Richard often helps people who need food, a job, or a place to live. Rather than telling them, “You don’t lose until you quit trying,” he shows them. Like Kathie, he demonstrates that rewards come from “trying differently.” If the first, second, or third solution he suggests doesn’t work, he doesn’t stop.
He firmly believes you don’t lose until you quit trying. Since he doesn’t quit trying, he’s a winner, and since I’m his girlfriend, I’m a winner too. He’s taught me to laugh and love and we are reframing each other’s worlds.
How do you feel about losing, trying, and trying differently? I’d love to hear your responses.
Photo Credit: Max Elman