“Time is everything; five minutes make the difference between victory and defeat.” (Horatio Nelson)
I celebrated my birthday yesterday. It was a WONDERFUL day, for many reasons and thanks to so many people. It was a happy day, all day, for me (and my husband, who shares my same birthday.) But then, unexpectedly, there came that moment.
That one moment when I couldn’t help but acknowledge the miracle of having such a wonderful 47th birthday…as I remembered how absolutely terrible turning 42 had been.
That lovely birthday that hit about a month after my extreme life losses and divorce in 2009, amid of a LOT of change, challenge, trauma and turmoil. I felt terrible, I looked awful, and I can’t describe the misery I experienced–feeling like a total failure in my 40s! (I don’t recommend it, haha.)
But I DO recommend hanging in there. Choosing to live anyway, despite your losses, burdens and adversities. Never give up. Get out of bed every day and accomplish something, even if it’s just getting out of bed!
Because time really is everything. And those ensuing minutes (or years, in my case) really do make the difference between defeat and victory. And victory feels so good and is literally, so SWEET.
“Victory is sweetest when you’ve known defeat.” (Malcolm S. Forbes)
“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those timid spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” (Theodore Roosevelt)
Teddy Roosevelt, a former president of the United States, was shot by a saloonkeeper while campaigning in Wisconsin in October 1912. The bullet lodged in his chest after penetrating his steel eyeglass case and the 50-page, single-folded copy of his speech he was carrying in his jacket.
Roosevelt, an experienced hunter, decided that since he wasn’t coughing blood the bullet hadn’t completely penetrated the chest wall to his lung so he didn’t go to the hospital immediately but instead, delivered his speech with blood seeping into his shirt. He spoke for 90 minutes, opening his speech with this line: “Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot, but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.”
Later, due to the location of the bullet, doctors decided it would be more dangerous to remove the bullet than leave it in place; Roosevelt carried the bullet with him the rest of his life.
Now, I have nothing against obtaining medical care when injured. In fact, I believe I would have gone straight to a hospital had that happened to me, but I admire Teddy for his grit. And I can’t help but think we’d have a lot more triumphs and successes among us and throughout the world if everyone, when faced with a challenge or an adversity responded to life by saying, “It takes more than that!” and carried on, and eventually triumphed, despite it.
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” (Michael Jordan)
I love this quote. I’ve raised my kids on it. It’s a reality in my life, as well as Michael Jordan’s. Because every life, especially the unexpected one, is comprised of more than its fair share of misses, losses and failures.
We each fail, in one way or another, over and over and over again in our lives; all of our lives.
So what do you do?
I think it’s what you choose to do with all of that failure that counts.
When we choose to keep rising from the ashes of failure and defeat, devastation and destruction, grief and pain and loss, THAT is success. And that “one more try, one last time” is very often the moment when success (finally!) comes.
And when we learn to find happiness and joy amidst it all, failure or success, THAT is when we have it made!
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” (Winston Churchill)