Persevere

Posted by: on January 16, 2012

Have you ever felt beaten? Have you ever wanted to give up? Maybe you can remember a time in your life when you felt outnumbered, outclassed, outpaced or outcast. If you feel that way now, or at some point in the future, I want you to remember this video.

Derek Redmond’s performance here captures the anguish of defeat in stunning clarity. You see him fall. You see him fail. You see him contemplate the inescapable torment of loss. You watch as he endures the shock of sudden failure, the pain of personal injury and the regret of potential unrealized.

In so many cases, the failure described above would stand as the conclusion for our story, and few would have expected anything different for Derek. What makes his example so poignant, is that he refused to accept those negative sentiments as his conclusion.

Derek would not allow the stopwatch or standings to be the arbiter of his success. Somewhere, in the brief moments immediately following the shock of his misfortune, Derek decided that he was not done. He had not given up. He picked himself up, wiped the defeat off of his face and hobbled courageously towards that finish line. That’s the power of perseverance. Out of the darkness of failure, rose a conclusion that brought 65,000 people to their feet and inspired me to write this article some 20 years later.

The trials of life can either build us up or tear us down. The outcome depends more upon you, than the challenge before you. -Author’s Note

Derek didn’t save a life. He didn’t sacrifice his own life. He wasn’t irreparably injured, and as sports tragedies go that race wouldn’t even brush the top fifty list. There is no front page story there. It’s the simplicity of his persistence that moves us. It inspires us. It demonstrates that no matter what the outcome of that race, Derek Redmond was unconquerable.

You are just as unconquerable as he is. There may not be 65,000 spectators watching you pick yourself up after your next defeat, but I remind you that the audience had nothing to do with Redmond’s valor. I hope the imagery of Derek’s determination motivates you to find similar resolve in your day to day efforts. Whether its a diet, a doctoral thesis or a decathlon, address it with the determination it deserves. No matter what challenges the world hands you, no matter how many losses you endure, finish with the resolve that you will rise again tomorrow, as undefeated as you did today.

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