The other day, an old friend from high school posted this photo of her son:

Her son Shaun was competing in a race at school. Halfway through the race, one of his shoes flew off. But he didn’t stop running! He kept going with one shoe and one sock. And he came in 2nd place! Amazing! Such perseverance. 

What about you? When you “lose a shoe,” metaphorically speaking, what’s your response to that kind of setback? Do you keep running? Do you persist? Do you finish the race no matter what? Or do you trot over to the sidelines and decide, “Oh well. I guess I’m done here. I couldn’t possibly go on.”

The unfortunate truth is that most of us would probably trot over to the sidelines and bow out. Most of us (myself included, at times) deal with setbacks pretty badly. When things don’t go exactly according to plan, or when things require more effort than we expected, oh boy… we do not like it! We whine. We get annoyed. We make excuses. We moan about how it’s “taking forever” and it’s all “just so hard.” We complain to our friends and we feel justified when they say, “Yes, you’re so right, it’s so hard.” We get discouraged over the smallest piddly little things. We give up so easily.

Meanwhile, somewhere out there, there’s a 7-year-old boy who scored 2nd place with one shoe. He’s not complaining. He’s proudly holding his trophy. Kinda puts things into perspective, doesn’t it?

If your mailing list software is acting wonky today, oh well, boo hoo. If your assistant didn’t schedule something correctly, oh well. If you handed your business card to someone but then (gasp!) they didn’t hire you on the spot, oh well. So you lost a shoe! So there’s a hiccup in the plan! So what! Keep running! Maybe you’ll need to run a little slower, or maybe you’ll need to hop on one foot, or maybe you’ll need to change course, but there’s always some way to keep moving forward. You don’t have to just… stop.

This race is not over until the moment you decide to give up.