The general who is able to persuade his forces that there is victory, even where there seems to be defeat, is one who will inspire them to fight against apparently impossible odds. They will, indeed, never suffer defeat, but will fight on until annihilated by capture or death. The secret of success even in the more pacific engagements of life lies in this principle—to be undaunted in ardour, in spite of failure; to recognise in failure a step towards ultimate success. Let a man be possessed with these, and victory is within his grasp, whether he recognises it or not.
It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.
In the dust of defeat as well as in the laurels of victory there is a glory to be found if one has done his best.
Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.
What is defeat? Nothing but education, nothing but the first step toward something better.
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