(Sunday, 13th Sep’20, 23:12)
Our societies have advanced tendencies to label certain people ‘winners’ and others – ‘losers’. Aside from this mean categorisation, the underlying problem here is the suggestion that life might be a lone, singular race, at the end to which one could clearly rank all the competitors from highest to lowest. And this is where I get confused!
The complex truth is that life is made up of a number of races that unfold simultaneously over different paths and with different sorts of cups and medals in view. There are races for money, fame and prestige – and these attract many spectators. But there are also races that measure other kinds of prowess worth venerating. There is a race for who can remain calmest in the face of frustration. There is a race for who can be kindest to children. There is a race measuring how gifted someone is at friendship. There are races focused on how attentive someone is to the evening sky or how good they are at deriving pleasure from autumn fruits.
Despite our enthusiasm for ranking the competitors, a striking fact is that no one is ever able to end up a winner in every genre of competition. If you are extremely skilled to win one race, it does not automatically guarantee you a win in the other. For example, winning at being extremely successful in business might not go hand in hand with any real ability at the race to appreciate the sky or find pleasure in small things!
As it seems, we cannot be winners at everything. Those who appear to be carrying off all the prizes as superhuman of life might not really be triumphing in all the areas of life. They are bound to be making a deep mess of less prestigious races they are a part of; they’ll be falling over, tripping up and perhaps be complaining about the track conditions in some corner of the stadium!
I ponder further and understand that if one cannot be a winner at everything, one cannot be a loser at everything either. When we have failed in certain races of life, we still have ample opportunities to train and develop our strength to win in others. Then why do we stress at all? Unknowingly, we compete in the race for fame, honour or money, but it’s still entirely open to us to compete in the race for kindness, friendship and forgiveness. Why do we not consider enjoying one’s own company or sleeping very soundly for many hours in the sun as a race? Maybe it’s insignificant but worth running for!
In my eyes, there is no such thing as a winner or a loser. There is only a person who has won in some areas and messed up in others. When we mess up in worldly areas and feel dejected and isolated, we still hold a chance to become star athletes in other less well-known but hugely important races – races around keeping a sense of humour, showing gratitude, forgiving, appreciating, letting go – and making do. These are the noble tracks, tracks where those who have ‘failed’ can finally and properly learn to ‘win’.!!