26. What notion do you think the world has most wrong?
The world says we deserve a trophy for showing up. We are all first place, no matter what the score of the game. We are equal players in the game of Life.
That is simply not the case, and I fear for you girls as you mature into this we’re-all-winners world. I’ll agree that we’re all special. Every person in the history of the world brought something to this thing called Life that made them unique and perfectly as they should be. I get that, but we aren’t all “winners” just because we want to be.
Everyone should be encouraged to do their best. In each of us lies the potential to do something. It might not be that we are destined to be a professional football player, the first female president of the United States, a movie star or a neurosurgeon. Instead, you might be meant for the less-famous greatness of life as a teacher as you help people gain the skills and knowledge they need to survive in our world or as a hairdresser to make someone feel beautiful on the outside when they might not feel so attractive on the inside. Maybe you will be the trash collector who always has a friendly “hello” for people as he pulls their can to the street or maybe your greatness lies in creating a pleasant retail experience at the mall, spreading joy through courteous waiting of tables or serving as a public defender who is assigned cases no one else will take and still treats each client with respect and compassion.
Whatever your lot in Life, I hope you approach it with a wholehearted zeal and do the best you can at whatever it is you do.
But you aren’t a winner just because you wake up and breathe.
Life requires effort. The world has evolved to a reward-everyone-regardless-of-effort place, and that is (in my opinion) not a good thing. If no one is allowed to stand out from the crowd for fear of upsetting someone whose skills in a particular area might not be up to par, why should anyone go to the trouble of putting forth an effort? If you know you are going to be acknowledged equally with someone who is pitifully lacking in whatever it is you are doing, why would you continue to strive for improvement and success?
We have redefined success as simply showing up, but being a winner means working hard at something. It means being a team player when you need to support the greater good and taking your place in the spotlight when your star shines more brightly than the rest. It means understanding that there will be times when someone else or some other team is better than you at something and you have to accept second, third or fifteenth place.
Not everyone is a winner. Some people are miserable no matter what. They see only negativity and reasons to gripe. They choose not to be friendly and welcoming with their fellow travelers through Life’s journey. These are people who feel the world owes them something, whether it’s recognition, money, a better job or a free ride.
If you learn nothing else from this blog series or from me as your mother, learn this – nobody owes you a trophy unless you earn it. You are going to fail. You are not always going to be in first place. You may never be in first place.
Being a winner means earning your way to success, but it does not mean you have to be in first place to win. You may feel good that you were able to compete in a game in which you did not come in first place or that you were asked to apply for a job that you ultimately did not receive. It may mean that your team didn’t score the most homeruns, turn in the winning bid for a job or gain the recognition you sought from the boss, but you put forth a valuable effort and performed as well as you could.
You can be a winner without ever seeing the winner’s circle from the inside.
But you do not deserve to stand in the winner’s circle just because you showed up to the game and stood by while others did their best. Get busy and earn your chance to step across that perfectly rounded line into the circle of champions. Be the best you that you can be, and let the world know the Mixon girls are here to win.
Just don’t expect a trophy simply for showing up.