Cross the Line
By Ridgely Goldsborough
Have you ever watched a runner stop and decide to sit down a few hundred yards from the finish line?
Would you remember if you did?
Or can you conjure marathon memories, Olympians staggering down the final stretch, falling, struggling to their feet, stumbling, tumbling and willing their bodies upright to somehow finish despite the anguish.
When was the last time you witnessed a racehorse drop out of the pack and decide to search for grazing grass?
Okay, so maybe those examples fall into the extreme category.
Few of us make the Olympics or gallop like champions.
Did you catch the painter packing his brushes after donning half the house with a coat of green?
Does the carpenter hammer only two thirds of a nail?
How would you feel if your coiffeur decided to style the left but not the right side of your mane?
When did we begin to condone the notion that starting without finishing makes the grade? It doesn’t.
If our forefathers fell into that rut, we’d babble the Queens’ English and fancy fish-n-chips over burgers.
We blossomed as a nation of fighters, gritty women and men who challenged all odds, paid the price and kept moving.
Through thick and thin, mistakes and setbacks, we persevered, endured and flourished.
Looking around today, I’m a little worried.
“It’s okay if young Johnny doesn’t finish his homework. He had a tough day.”
“Don’t make her clean her room now. She’s tired and needs to rest.”
“You can turn in your report next week. I know this quarter has been extra stressful at the office.”
Gimme’ a break.
No, don’t—and that’s the point.
Too many excuses out there.
We expend more effort justifying our failures than mustering the oomph to complete the task at hand.
Too much whining.
Most of life’s defeats happen to people who don’t realize how close they come to tasting success when they quit.
If we could just try one more time, make one more call, give it one more shot.
When we forsake and renounce anything at the mid-point, we miss out in two ways.
First, no completion, no glory.
Second, not as obvious, we abdicate the lesson.
We spurn the chance to learn the very piece we need to succeed next go around.
The road to success runs through the land of failure.
To succeed quickly, double your failure rate, double the speed of your learning curve, suck each lesson dry and plug yourself back into the game.
No one crests any pinnacle without struggles.
Nothing great comes easily.
Nothing at all stems from surrendering in the middle of the battle—except defeat and the nagging question that lingers in the aftermath:
“What if I had kept on fighting?”
That’s A View From The Ridge…
This article originally appeared in the Autumn 2017 issue of CHOICES Magazine