Written by Lacey Anderson
There is not a single person who has not struggled in this world. It’s about perspective. The scale of adversity is not comparable. You having had struggled is not unique, but your struggles are. They make you who you are. You are a culmination of all of your individual experiences. You choose who you become by the way you react to your personal adversities. And the abstract (and completely hypothetical) scale of how you’ve turned out as a person is entirely subjective. Because trying and failing makes you so much better than if you had not tried at all.
Sports replicate life in a way that I believe that anyone who did not have the opportunity to compete, is at a severe disadvantage. It has little to do with what sport you select or what type of team or competitive level you participated at; it is specifically about being given the opportunity to fail.
As athletes, we all know what it’s like to fail. And to let people down. You sign up and join a team with coaches whose jobs are to tell you when you are wrong.
As a teammate, the only way to fix your mistake is to work to not make it again. That’s what makes you a successful athlete. And that’s what makes you a good person…the perpetual investment that you make into not being a bad person.
Here is where the waters get a little muddy. Being on a team makes the goal of personal improvement a community objective. Because if you go outside and swim a few laps and aren’t quite hitting the times you would like, you’re the only person who is upset. Whereas, if you jump into the pool for a game and perform poorly, you’ve let an entire team down. This is the point at which people fall short. Specifically trying to be better for your team seems to be the obvious and completely respectable choice; but if we translate to real life, if you are just seeking improvement so that those around you are more successful, you’ve failed to acknowledge that you too, deserve success. Thus, to be successful for others, you must first do good for you.
Be better for yourself.
And it’s not selfish, to put yourself first. Because we are not talking about taking something from others because you deserve it more. It is arriving at the understanding that you cannot pour from an empty cup. That you cannot give anyone something that you do not possess.
And there has to be enough security in the fact that you know that you did the best you could personally. Because nine times out of ten the only cheerleader you will have, is yourself. And that’s the central point, be proud of who you are and who you’ve become for you. Be a role model for others to be proud of their own progress. As people, we are responsible for building up those you come after us. Toni Morrison said “… just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have more power, then your job is to empower somebody else”.
Just think, if we all tried to be better people, and our effort inspired others, the whole world would be filled with people trying to be better.