Do you remember that time when you played a little league sport and everyone got a trophy or medal for participating? Did that help your character in any way, shape, or form? Did it make you want to strive to be better or stay comfortable with where you’re at? These are the things that are going through many peoples minds today with those types of events. Everyone is getting rewarded for trying even if they completely sucked or didn’t even help the team in any way.
When I looked back on my childhood, I wanted to say that I was one of the ones that actually earned my trophy. Sadly I was not. There are boxes and boxes of trophies, medals, and ribbons from things I did from childhood to high school that mean very little to me. There are some that I really cherish such as my archery medals that I earned through lots of hard work and practice. The rest of the things I have I’ve either forgotten about or am not concerned with them.
What purpose did those awards serve me in the long run? Most of them have served me no purpose. Outside of learning to persevere through a season or task, I learned nothing. This is what we are teaching our kids today. Everyone gets a trophy or medal because they showed up sometimes. Is this what happens in the real world? Absolutely not. If you just jump into something and have no qualifications or experience, first you wouldn’t get the job, and second, if you did get the job you’d never make it. Your boss won’t give you a raise or let you continue to have a job if you don’t live up to the standard they have set. That’s how the world works. You’re not going to be babied like you were in little league.
Little league may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of this post but hear me out. What if we encouraged our kids and teenagers to go out and fail. Yes, I said fail. Would it really damage them so badly that they would never recover? Not hardly. Messing up is a vital part in learning. Without it there is no advancing. No successful person, that I’ve ever heard of, has ever gotten to where they are today without some sort of failure in their life. Was it comfortable for them at the time? I’d probably guess that’s a no. But, it did teach them something or things they wouldn’t have learned another way. They learned new ways around things or better ways of handing situations. They learned better people skills.
So what if a kid gets upset about not getting a trophy or a part in the school play. Yes, they will be upset and hurt for a little bit but they’ll rebound and learn. So what if you don’t land that job you wanted or get fired. Yes, those are really significant setbacks but what can you learn from that? Maybe that wasn’t the direction you needed to go at the time. Maybe there was something you could improve upon for the next job opportunity that will launch your career. Failures are tough but they’re not all bad. They’re probably one of the best ways to learn. Embrace the setbacks and mess-ups in life. Evaluate them and see what you can improve on. Ultimately those things will shape your character in ways you never thought were possible. They’ll make you into a better, more equipped person in the future.