A little boy was introduced to a sport that he eventually fell in love with. His family was quite broken and he was traumatized, but the sport helped. The joy he felt when playing was quite contagious. Everyone could see the improvement and there was a general sense of joy even in that broken atmosphere. The sport was hockey and he grew very good at it, continually excelling in competitions. In the very final competition which was a gathering of champions in that field, people still had hope that he would win. He didn’t. He got eliminated in the quarterfinals. He had done well but he didn’t win.
This story is just a silhouette of many others. What sparks my interest is that I actually think he won, maybe not in the competition but in every other way and that too, must be celebrated. This was a young traumatized boy who in less than 3 years rose to become a national hero and shared the stage with the greatest in his sport. He won because he rose way above his situation and didn’t allow himself to be drowned in every excusable way.
The most celebrated people in our world today are those who have become great in their fields. That is totally admirable and inspiring. But their untold stories range from series of rejection to consistent failures and yet never giving up. Their achievements are hailed but their struggles are not highlighted enough. Those struggles are what I call “little winnings” and those to me are far greater than the big final win which may seem so easy and perfect but doesn’t actually do justice to the amount of effort that has been put to work.
The type of winnings I refer to can be seen as someone who doesn’t come first in class but has put in a good amount of effort. In the long term, it is the effort that counts. What I am saying is in no way to disregard people who get to the top but to celebrate others who don’t, in order to inspire them to reach for the ultimate. A typical case in point is Ghana. There’s no doubt that Ghana has its own problems – which are a lot by the way – but the real problem lies in constantly comparing ourselves to other nations and making them the benchmark instead of keeping track of our own efforts and increasing it where necessary. If someone else sets their own standard, there’s no way another person is beating them to it. Even if you do better than them, it is their competition and not yours. We can only set ours and ask them for guidance where necessary. But with each increase, with each stride we take, we should learn to applaud our efforts as that will motivate us to reach for even greater victories.
The fact that we all have stories should tell us that one person’s achievement cannot be quantified in the same way as another person. But whatever the case is, we need to be better than we were before. One thing that inspires such an action is learning to appreciate whatever progress we make and avoid continually comparing it to that of others. And let us try to make others feel good when we notice they are winning. That’s how we celebrate them.