You Don’t Fail Until You Quit

When are you done?  As in defeated. The rule is, you are not defeated until you quit.

The Romans had a saying that you have, no doubt, heard.

“While there’s life, there’s hope”

In poker there is the story of the late Jack Strauss. In the 1982 World Series of Poker, he pushed all his chips into the pot and lost. As he prepared to leave, he discovered another $500 chip under a napkin. He was still in. He eventually won the tournament.

In poker the legend has become the thought, “You’re not out of it if you have a chip and a chair.” While uncommon, other come-from-behind victories in poker have occurred since.

People who watched the 2017 Super Bowl and the Patriots unlikely victory, or the 1993 playoff game between Buffalo and Houston, can understand the unlikely come back idea. You adopt the Yogi Berra approach, “It ain’t over ’til its over”

The history of poker and sports has many legendary come back victories. Easy to dismiss as trite, but they happen in life too. You are not out of it until you quit.

In life the lesson is clear. It is the same as it is in sports or poker. You cannot turn a defeat into victory using the same techniques that put you in a bad spot to begin with. You must change. Do things differently or with more enthusiasm and maybe risk. 

The harder question is “Change what?”

There are three areas to consider:

  1. The goal. This is usually a simple thing. Win in football for example. Unless your goal is clearly unattainable, like being richer than Bill Gates by the end of the year, changing it should be the last thing you do.
  2. The method. Not all methods work for everyone and none work every time. By analyzing your results , you can decide if the method is never going to work or maybe it is a temporary aberration. If it is clearly wrong, then you should seek another or maybe find someone to help you implement better.
  3. The resources. Some perfectly good plans won’t work if they are starved for capital or time or attitude. This assessment should fall out from the analysis of method. One of the key resources is attitude, especially enthusiasm.

Quite often accepting setbacks as part of the learning process is all that is needed to make a bad situation good or at least better. You come to learn it is possible to lose without being defeated.

Keep the goal. Change the method. 

A football coach once told his team,

“We are never defeated, but sometimes we run out of time while we are behind.” Vince Lombardi.

Not a bad attitude to carry into life.  Talk to your children about it too.

Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario.  In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.

Please be in touch if I can help you.  866-285-7772

2 Comments on “You Don’t Fail Until You Quit

  1. Good point Don we are not done until the game is over.We do not give up no matter what we only assess our goals and methods and continue.The 3 R s of Financial Planning

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