The game isn’t over until I win.

I love this quote because of the attitude it invokes. A true winner is one who is willing to push and grind through the struggle and tear down those brick walls no matter how painful or time consuming, because they want the victory bad enough. Those simple words describe a kind of perseverance that only those who have tasted the sweetness of success possess; and the not so big secret is we all have the capacity for this in each and every one of us. Perseverance is not a talent or a skill, but an attitude that one can attain or build into their character. It is an unflinching belief in ourself, and a refusal to allow temporary setbacks to become a permanent failure. Because what most of us fail to realise is that failure is only possible in life when we give up because it was just too hard.

Don’t get me wrong, there are times where giving something up or letting go can be a success in itself, even if to the outside world it may appear to be a huge loss. There are circumstances where the bravest thing one can do is walk away from something good because it is not right. When I left my legal career to pursue my dream of being a writer and motivational speaker, I received a lot of criticism for my decision, many said I was wasting all those years of hard work and study, some labelled me a failure. But leaving a career that I was not passionate about and left me feeling emotionally depleted, direly depressed, eventually causing severe illness, was pretty much a no brainer. What good is it to live a wealthy and apparently prestigious life if the price for it is my happiness and health.

So, leaving what is comfortable to pursue something I am passionate about, but may seem like the unlikely, unattainable, not so lucrative and less prestigious choice can be the biggest test of all and that is the real game.

There is a great quote that has always stuck with me, it was by a well known and much loved motivational speaker named Zig Ziglar who stated “when obstacles arise, change your direction to reach your goal, not the direction to get there.” Too often people tend to give up far too easily, I once knew a farmer who was very successful in growing hydroponic tomatoes and for over a period of three years was making a great living selling them to local restaurants and markets. His tomatoes were delicious, juicy and of great quality. However, one day his crop developed a disease which wiped out all his tomatoes. The farmer was devastated, the blow really hit him hard and he ended up becoming severely depressed, his entire livelihood had been destroyed practically overnight. The following year he tried to revive his crop but during this time another farmer swooped in on all his regular business. He felt so defeated and disappointed and made a life changing decision in that moment, he decided he had failed and chose not to try to recover his tomato farm. He returned to his previous job as a janitor of the local hospital and never attempted his business again. The years following this period he still received phone calls from local restaurants and market sellers enquiring about his crop, but the setback he faced was too much for him to overcome and he never returned to the farm he enjoyed.
This is a sad story, but unfortunately not uncommon. How many of us have let a dream slip away because at the time it felt so hard, there were too many obstacles to face or we didn’t have faith that things would eventually work out. In our modern fast paced culture and the convenience of technology, it has created a society of people who are uncomfortable with discomfort. Impatience and immediate results are what drives most of us, and this has meant that many of our goals have slipped away because it didn’t happened soon enough or the obstacles just seemed far too big.

One of the most inspiring stories I have seen recently, was depicted in a feature movie starring Will Smith called “The pursuit of happiness”. It demonstrates how one man’s relentless determination and faith in creating a better life for himself, in times of extraordinary struggle is one of the greatest examples of how perseverance through temporary setbacks can lead to unfathomable victory. During his (Will Smith) character’s pursuit for a better life, his wife leaves him due to their flailing business, he and his son get evicted from their family home, his only source of income is stolen, he is kicked out of his motel room because his savings was taken from the tax department for his overdue taxes, and eventually is forced to sleep on the street. During this time he signs up to do an internship at a prestigious stockbroking firm after impressing one of the executives with his natural talent, the internship is with no pay and no guarantee that there will be a job at the end of it. Throughout the beginning of the movie it depicts the painful unfolding of his life, as one unfortunate incident after another and ultimately one catastrophe after another. But what is so endearing about his character is that in the face of the incredible setbacks, and even when he hits rock bottom after spending the night in the public toilets with his son because they couldn’t get a room at the shelter, his character continues to fight for the internship with tenacity and good humour. His determination and endurance are almost super human. In his story there is something that really connects with the viewer, the strength he has to push through all the barriers of his suffering and fear, when everyone around him labelled him a loser and failure, his love for his son and belief in his own ability meant that he ultimately was able to break through the barriers of his life eventually became an incredibly successful and wealthy stock broker and business owner.

His story is incredibly humbling because his adversity, although extreme, is very relatable and we can see ourselves in his quest for a better life. The biggest lesson I have learned is, the game is never over until I win, and if I fail temporarily I get back up and think of a new or better way to approach my goal, and if you have this mindset in whatever you do, you will see your life unfold in miraculous ways.

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