Never surrender…

“We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.”  (Maya Angelou), as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.

There has been much written and said about poet Maya Angelou since her recent death. One of the legacies that she left was a strong message to women about their ability to overcome adversity in life and find the strength to succeed. Much has been written about the adversities that Maya overcame to rise to the level of internationally celebrated author, poet and actress.

I have written many times here about persevering and overcoming adversity and about learning from our mistakes and our failures in life. I like a saying that I saw recently from self-help guru Tony Robbins –

“No matter how many mistakes you make, you are still way ahead of everyone who isn’t trying.”

I suspect that there was a lot of that advice hidden in Ms. Angelou’s quote. She refused to be defeated and kept on trying. She kept getting back up whenever life knocked her down and as she also is quoted as saying, she held her head high and walked tall.  She appears not to have measured her success in life in monetary terms or by the number of important people that she knew, but, rather by the level of self-confidence and dignity that she was able to maintain. She was very comfortable with herself and I’ve written about that, too.

I also believe that what Maya was really saying in her quote is the variation that is found in many quotes on that topic, like this one –

“It is inevitable that some defeat will enter even the most victorious life. The human spirit is never finished when it is defeated… it is finished when it surrenders.” – Ben Stein

Life is so full of little victories that we all take for granted that little defeats (little failures) sometimes get blown out of proportion. Sometimes, especially when we are tired to begin with, it is hard to summon up that extra effort or that added little bit of self-confidence that we need to get through a situation and we just want to give up. Defeats are not final until you let them be final by quitting. Defeats are just temporary set-backs unless you surrender to them. At times like that Maya’s quote would morph into :

“We may encounter many defeats, but we must never surrender.”


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