Friday, November 9, 2012

Quitters

This only applies to politics insomuch as a lot of what I've seen in the aftermath of this last election. By no means is it a reason for anyone to gloat. Both sides have lost ample elections and felt distraught and dismayed as much as the other. What this post is about is the losing attitude I've seen post election day, one that applies to so much more than just politics. It's really been a magnifying glass for me, to all the things I see this attitude reflected in, from the biggest things to the smallest things. It becomes clear that these aren't just losers, these are quitters. Quitting is a very specific type of losing. There is a time to grieve and to lick your wounds, but that time can be brief. Sometimes you haven't even a moment to waste on grief. Sometimes you have to understand that how you look to the rest of the world, how you bounce back from a trying situation, is what either makes or breaks your point of view. What you stand for depends on how you deal with failure.

This is addressed to the quitters who, if their head was on their shoulders well enough, would understand that losing is your past and victory is always your potential. Your loss was yesterday, but this is today, this is now. Who you are now is not who you were yesterday.  You've got to let people know that. A loser understands the battle may be lost but the war is far from over, a quitter sees the war having been lost before it's even begun.

Sometimes you just need to suck it up, grow a pair, and soldier on. I'm sick and tired of this whiny, sissy, "I'm going to move to Canada", whoah is me, this is the end of the world as we know it garbage. Be an adult. You've got a responsibility and a duty, not just to yourself, but to your cause and to those around you to represent strength and civility. When I see entire groups of people give up because they lost, it makes me sick. If that's the case, then get out. We don't need you here. This league doesn't need your team. Quitters bring those around them down to their level. They radiate a darkness that's surprisingly powerful, that draws you in and forces sympathy from you. You know a lot of people don't want to hear this but it's not always appropriate to coddle a quitter. When someone says, "I quit!" our first instinct is to smother them and say, "No don't do it! We all love you! You can do it, don't give up!"

I am all for moral support, believe me. I know that not every losing situation calls for tough love, but I'll be damned if every one of those situations calls for cooing and lollipops. Sometimes a losing situation asks you to get it together. Sometimes, when someone says "I quit", the only way to bring them back from the brink is to say, "Good. Do it. I want you to quit, because I'd rather have a team full of fighters, full of warriors, of strength, honor, and confidence, than a group of people who are looking for the next opportunity to throw in the towel. So please, by all means, quit."

If you're aware of when to call a spade a spade, then do it. Because much of the time, when a quitter is encouraged to continue down the path of failure, he wants to fight you on it. Often times they're looking for attention, they want you to hug them and kiss them and tell them it'll all get better because they haven't the slightest idea of how to actually deal with their failure because they're afraid of it. We all are. Failure is a serpent lurking in dark waters and the only way to not get bitten is not to wade out. But victory awaits across the river. Perhaps comfort lies on the shore you've spent your whole life on, but there is nothing new for you there, all the life that can be lived there has been lived, it's time to move on and grow, time to become a better, stronger person, and the only way to do that is to risk failing.

So when you call a quitter out, sometimes that's what it takes. We don't talk about tough love enough, in fact I rarely hear anyone talk about it. Why? Because even the fighters can be afraid. We're afraid of hurting feelings, afraid of pushing someone to the breaking point, afraid that anyone and everyone should be treated as if they're potentially suicidal. But most of us aren't. It should be clear when not to take this attitude, but it should be equally if not more clear when to do it. This can be a nasty, dreary, dark world and if we just wrap ourselves up in a blanket and give out cups of cocoa and bandaids to everyone as if they're kids who slipped and fell in the rain then we're never fighting toward victory, never learning from our mistakes. Sometimes you've got to get cut up and bruised, dirty and broken in order to understand what it means to be clean and put together.

Sometimes you need to fail in order to succeed. Plain and simple.

Today's the day you take a little responsibility for yourself. If you're one of these quitters then go ahead and do it and stop wasting our time. Because when the chips are down, and you thought you spent all this time fighting for something meaningful and important and then, just like that, after one fall off the saddle you're ready to give up, then do it and get out of our way. Clearly you're not the one to represent whatever valiant cause you believed in. Clearly you're unprepared. You weren't ready for this. You aren't ready for this. Go back home and soak in the tub and eat ice cream and cry. We don't want to hear about how "hard" it is for you, about how sorry and sad we should feel for you. Life is hard for all of us, so what makes your justification for quitting so special? Go on into Countries a little less fortunate than ours and find the kids who consider life hard and tell me how you feel.

Why can I feel comfortable saying this, why can any of us feel okay reassuring a quitter to do so? Because most of the time they're bullshitting you. They like to hand you a puddle a piss and hope you can clean it up for them because they don't want to, because it "scares" them. Because they made a mistake and their image of perfection has been shattered. Too bad. It's time to break that magic mirror kids. You're not the fairest of them all. None of us are and that's okay. But what none of us were born to do was fail. You can only be a failure if you quit, if you label yourself one. Is that what you want, to be a failure? Because if it is, then quitting is the surest way to guarantee you'll fulfill that false prophecy against yourself. If you want to be a failure, then do it. But get the hell out of our way. We don't lie down in a fight, we don't run, and we don't make the same mistake twice. We learn, we train, and we fight back. But we never, NEVER, quit. Ever.

In this life you either learn to work from your failures and turn them into victories, learn to make meaning out of your life, or you fade away into nothingness. All the praise and the power, the money and the might of your bad attitude equal squat when the sun sets on your era. How do you want to be remembered? How do your life to end? Was it a failure or a success?