Thursday, March 7, 2013

Never Give Up!

The cartoon came from
      I just wrote a piece on Not Quitting and here I am addressing the same subject again.
      Witness the cartoon I saw on Facebook and shared.  A stork, or some kind of water bird, is attempting to devour a frog.  The frog, to the apparent surprise of the bird, is refusing to go quietly into that good night... well... in this case the birds stomach.  In an effort of self-preservation, the frog has grabbed and is chocking the birds throat.  The message is "Never Give Up!"
      Indeed.  Never give up.  Keep on fighting.  Persevere.  Keep on keeping on.  Make it happen.  Even the Nike slogan, Just Do It, taps into the same general message.  This, of course, taps into the imperative laid out most notably by Winston Churchill (thanks to Mike Adajian for the quote).

Never give in- never, never, never, never-  in nothing great or small, large or petty-  never give in except to convictions of honor & good sense. Never yield to force- never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.
      Who can argue with Churchill?  Who can argue with the cartoon?
      We are all on the frog's side.  We all take the frog's point of view.  Don't tread on me.  Don't try to eat me!  You will regret it.
      Never give up!
      It makes a lot of sense.  However, does not the same thing apply to the bird?  The bird is hungry.  It stalked and hunted down a meal.  The bird plucked the frog out of the water and about to swallow it and... what the heck... the frog starts fighting back and  is actually choking the bird.
      Here is the quandary?  Does the bird give up or does it heed the same "never give up" advice presumably given to the frog.  If it is good advice for the frog, is it not equally good advice for the bird?  Is there a right and wrong here?  Or, is it simply a matter of resolve, will, and probably some modicum of physical strength?
      The advice is, of course, personal.  It applies to each and everyone of us.  That means the advice applies to all.  It is certain that there will be occasions where two people are face to face wanting the exact opposite result with the mindset of never giving up.  Both will not win, both cannot win, one will win the other will lose.  Does the advice still apply to both?  Most certainly it does.  Even if you lose, there is something to be said for giving it your all; for never giving up.
      I am trying hard not to use sports analogies and examples here.  It is too easy and would probably be too cliched.  But the following must be noted.  Every year in every team sport at any level, n teams compete and there is usually only one champion.  Everyone else loses.  Only one out n can win.  So, what about the n-1 teams?  Since we are on sports, allow me to reference Vince Lombardi.  Arguably, his most famous quote is:

Winning isn't everything, it is the only thing.
      OK.  Fine.  I get it.  But with the elimination of ties in the NFL, on any given Sunday half of the teams win and half of them lose.  Almost all believe in Coach Lombardi's quote and adhere to the "never give up" philosophy.  Yet, half of them win and half of them lose and in the end there is only one Super Bowl winner.
     It is, like many things in life, a zero sum game.
     I read a different version of Lombardi quote that wraps it up nicely for me especially in the context of "never give up:"
Winning isn't everything, but the will to win is everything. 

1 comment:

  1. Yes, the WILL to win is everything. Never give up. I know I won't.