In this post I want to talk about winning and share one the best poems I have ever read (I don’t read too many to be honest with you, but I was Burns champion in Primary school for two years in a row, so, ya know, i’m basically a master Prosodist).
Winning isn’t a new concept to anyone, in fact its quite simple. You win, or you lose, right? Well, the poem below changed that mindset for me. I no longer look at winning as beating someone else, but I define winning as the very best I could give. The very best within my powers and giving it all, leaving nothing left behind. In my opinion that is a healthier version of winning and one that narrows the focus to myself and not anyone else.
Now, before I get all enlightened, I will write that this isn’t true for every day. I have my bad days, some days I don’t feel like trying and I fail, that’s OK. I’ve come to accept that, its OK to have bad days but I continue the next – giving my best (have faith and patience). The poem at the bottom of this page is a great written piece by George Moriarty and hope you can get the same amount of influence from it that I have.
I was informed of this poem by a Ted Talk from the late and great (arguably the greatest Basketball coach of all time), John Wooden, I would highly recommend watching the video along in addition to reading the poem below. John explains the poem magnificently and talks about his great teaching methods that have resonated with people all over the world. No Instagram influence here, just gold!
The Road Ahead or the Road Behind
Sometimes I think the Fates must grin
as we denounce them and insist,
the only reason we can’t win
is the Fates themselves have missed.
Yet there lives on the ancient claim,
we win or lose within ourselves.
The shining trophies on our shelves
can never win tomorrow’s game.
So you and I know deeper down:
there is a chance to win the crown,
but when we fail to give our best,
we simply haven’t met the test
of giving all and saving none
until the game is really won.
Of showing what is meant by grit,
of fighting on when others quit;
of playing through not letting up,
it’s bearing down that wins the cup.
Of taking it and taking more
until we gain the winning score,
of dreaming there’s a goal ahead,
of hoping when our dreams are dead,
of praying when our hopes have fled,
yet, losing, not afraid to fall,
if bravely we have given all.
For who can ask more of a man
that giving all within his span,
it seems to me
is not so far from Victory.
And so the fates are seldom wrong,
no matter how they twist and wind,
it’s you and I who make our fates,
we open up or close the gates
on the Road Ahead or the Road Behind.
-by George Moriarty