Let’s do away with the participation ribbon once and for all

As kids are heading back to school, I can’t help to remember the dreaded participation ribbon schools would hand out at sporting events to those who just didn’t make the cut. A humiliating consolation prize, I never understood the concept. In fact, I oppose the idea of rewarding kids for showing up.

No one gets a gold star from their manager for showing up to work. That’s a given. I’m expected to deliver results for the firm and reach its objectives. Only when I surpass and exceed the expectations of my clients do I receive kudos.

In life there are winners and losers. Not everyone is special, despite what your mother thinks. Not all kids are going to win. Not all kids should win. You are rewarded for being exceptional, not just warming a seat.

But remember, don’t be afraid to fail. Failure offers a far better lesson than winning. When you fail, you are forced to pick yourself up and confront the hardships life has thrown at you. Failure gives you a reason to try harder and dig deeper.

All successful people have dealt with failure and lots of it.

Michael Jordan didn’t make his high school basketball team. Abraham Lincoln suffered from a nervous breakdown and faced several defeats running for U.S. Congress and Senate before becoming President. Those defeats did not stop them. They used these failures as their catalyst for greatness.

Look at the failures in your life as opportunities to grow and get better. Life is about pushing against our barriers and building a foundation to achieve greatness.

Because only through struggle can we truly achieve success.

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