“Almost” should encourage one to keep trying

March 10, 2022

Two recent quotes from the Jack’s Winning Words blog this week seem appropriate to use together –

“It’s hard to measure ‘almost’ because ‘almost’ doesn’t matter.” (Rip: Yellowstone/season 1 episode 4)

“You are capable of more than you know.”  (Glinda, the Good Witch)

The word “almost” has got to rank right up there with “Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda” in life’s list of often used laments.

At least those who “almost” won at whatever they were doing have the satisfaction of having tried, maybe even having tried their best and just fallen short whereas those who coulda, woulda and shoulda didn’t even try.

That effort to attempt something makes “almost” actually matter. Out of most cases of “almost” often comes the resolve to keep trying. The recently concluded Winter Olympics featured television story after story of those who trained for years for the chance to compete yet didn’t win. An oft heard ending to those stories was the phrase, “I’ll be back.” In many cases, even though they did not win, the athletes achieved person bests and proved to themselves that they could compete at that level. In those case, “almost” strengthened their resolve to keep training and keep trying.

That brings us to the second quote from Glinda the Good Witch in The Wizard of Oz. The people who continue the pursuit of their dreams even in the face of “almost” embrace the thought that they are capable of more.

There was a story on the local news last night about a boy from Mumford High School in Detroit finally winning what he has been working toward for four years. He is a wrestler and began wrestling as a freshman because his coaches saw more in him that he saw in himself at the time. He did not make the state wrestling championships that year, but the next the year he went to the State competition and came in 8th. Last year, as a Junior, he went to States again and finished second – he almost won. He kept at it and this year was the State Champion in his weight class – the first wrestler from Mumford to ever win a state wrestling championship. He bought into the faith that his coaches initially had in him.

The lesson today is not to let the disappointment of “almost” drag you down into the morass of “coulda, woulda, shoulda”; but, rather, to use it as motivation and take Glinda’s advice to continue to strive for those things that you didn’t know you are capable of. In life that can mean going for that job that you didn’t think you could get or maybe asking that person out who you didn’t think would accept.

Wayne Gretzky famously said – You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” So, take your shots in life; especially if you almost made it last time. You are capable of more than you know. Keep trying.