Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat

One step forward
(Photo credit: Tumblr)

I’d like to believe I’m the sort of person who doesn’t give up without a good fight but in reality I’m the kind of person who first doesn’t succeed at something likes to go away, lick my wounds and try again later when I’m better prepared.

Of course I’m never gracious about admitting defeat in any capacity, even if it is just temporary, but sometimes you just have to. I can’t be perfect the first time at everything and I definitely know that better than most because my life has been filled with setbacks.

A classic example of this was when I was learning to drive. Like most things I do in my life I was a bit backward and I actually bought my first car before I even knew how to drive it. It’s probably important to point out here that my first car was an automatic and I kind of fell in love with it before I even realized the fact.

When I first got my learners permit I would drag any person with an open license into the passenger seat of my car just so I could get in some practice and sometimes I drove on my own. It was after the second time the cops pulled me over without a licensed driver beside me that I definitely knew I had to sit my test. However I didn’t just want an automatic car license, I wanted a manual car license because I didn’t want to look like I couldn’t drive.

There is a certain stigma attached to those who only have automatic car license or at least there was when I was learning to drive. On the weekends I hung out with a group of car enthusiasts and these people always talked about racing around in their cars and what magic they created just because it had a gear shift and I wanted to experience that too.

So I got some practice in a manual car a few times and although I wasn’t at all confident in my ability I sat my test anyway. I don’t know what I was thinking, maybe I thought lady luck would see me through or maybe I thought they’d give me my full license out of pity but in the end none of those things happened because I was given a big fat fail. I was so disappointed in myself.

“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” – F.Scott Fitzgerald

In the end it wasn’t my shifting that had let me down but my inability to juggle everything else with it such as indicating at the right time, stopping at the correct distance from the car in front and being aware of what (or who) was in my mirrors. I also looked at my dash too much when letting the clutch out and all because I hadn’t developed the skill of listening to the engine for rev indication so I definitely lost points there too.

If I had sat my automatic license none of these things would have been an issue and I would have passed but because I rushed myself and wanted to be like everyone else and have a manual license I had failed. I now had two choices laid out before me. I could either re-sit the test in a months time in an automatic, have my license and be free or I could try again to get my manual license, a license I didn’t necessarily need just wanted because everyone else had one.

It didn’t take me long to figure out which scenario I’d rather be living in four weeks time and so I admitted temporary defeat and got my automatic license. It was a downer on my ego but at least I could drive my car legally. Later on after a change of cars and a lot more practice I went back and sat for my manual car license test and passed first go.

I guess the whole point of my story here is to know when to admit defeat even if it’s just temporary and for this reason I’m dropping Tech Math. There’s no doubt I can do the material because I learnt stuff I’ve never done before just by reading a textbook but this class moves very fast, it’s two different subjects each week and I’m not a faster learner.

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” – Abraham Lincoln

I hate admitting defeat yet what I hate more is going ahead with something just because I want to keep up with my peers and then failing at it because I’m not fully prepared.

Sometimes you have to do things a little differently than those people around you and you know what? That is perfectly okay.