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What Is Wrong With Second Place?

I love quotes. It’s hard for me to ignore the ones with deep meaning, the ones that inspire me to be a better person.

Many times, I memorize the ones that mean a lot to me, or store them in places where I’d get to read them often. However, I couldn’t help but have mixed feelings about this one.

“You never win the silver, you only lose the gold.”

A few days ago, a friend of mine called me. She was very excited and wanted me to congratulate her daughter who had just graduated from Secondary School. She took the second position in her graduating class and her family showered her with lots of praises and gifts.

Of course, the young girl’s achievement is every bit worth celebrating and I told her so.

It’s important that you put your best into everything you do, so that when the result comes, whatever it is, you’d be proud of your achievements. This quote however, takes the focus away from that, and makes second place seem like a loss of the first place.

It could be a sporting competition, an examination, a prize, a job… whatever it is. Sometimes, you might not get first position, but please don’t think any less of yourself for not getting that.

A month back, I wrote this piece on Why It’s Necessary To Fail Sometimes and I still believe in this point mentioned: Some of your largest failures in life will become your greatest assets. Some day you will realize that if you had never failed, then you would have never succeeded.

I just want us to have this mindset that we are not ‘losers’. It’s very important that we do not see ourselves that way but take every experience as a learning curve. It’s graduation season and lots of students are graduating from schools with different grades. If your child did not get the kind of grade you wished for, please encourage him or her and don’t make them feel like they ‘lost’ the first place to someone else.

Put your very best into everything you do and if the results don’t come out like you expected, try harder next time. Life always gives us many opportunities to improve on ourselves, to learn from our mistakes, to become a better people.

Is there anyone who agrees or disagrees with me? What is really wrong with second place? I’d love to read your comments.

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