winningRemember when that whole “winning” thing was really big? Charlie Sheen’s infamous quote that was immortalized via the Twitter and then again in that not-so-classic song “All I Do Is Win Win Win.” Thanks to trending hashtags, most of life’s events can be thrown into distinctive categories. Most of my days can be summed up with either throwing out a #YOLO, #EpicFail, or #Winning. Such as the hashtags suggest, my days are extremes – they are either the best day of my entire life or the very worst. And even though I know that this is 100% in my control, I still allow insignificant things to get in the way and bug me – so much that I had a minor melt down yesterday.

How many times have we all heard inspirational quotes about hard work and perseverance? Things like “Nothing great is achieved without hard work,” and “With hard work, determination and inspiration, great things can be accomplished,” and the age-old story about the mice and the cream turned to butter. How about quotes about success, like Bill Cosby’s ““In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure,” and on and on and on and on…

Eff it.

I hate hard work. Cuz it’s hard. And I have easily activated tear ducts.

I just want to be good, no great, no PERFECT at everything I do and ya know what? I want to be perfect at it the first time I do it. Is that so much to ask?

I’m doing this thing in life right now that is really hard. There is no need to go into detail about it cuz it is irrelevant. We all have challenges and hardships, and I want this post to be generalizable. I want  you to read this and relate. And feel like this could be written about what you are currently going through.

But this thing that I am doing is really freaking hard. Really hard. My life is literally being manifested in those cliche quotes above, and I kind of hate the irony of it all. This activity doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s a lot of work. And even worse, it seems like everyone is better than me. It’s like it comes naturally to everyone else. I suck and they are awesome. And it doesn’t help that I am fiercely competitive. I hate being worse than others. And I won’t lie – the second my perceived “dominance” in something is threatened, I think about backing down. I can have this debilitating attitude at times that tells me if I am not the very best at something on my first try, then it isn’t worth it.

I have serious complexes, no?

Well, I received some advice last night that really hit home.

The best kind of people to surround yourself with are people that continue to surprise you. I consider myself so blessed that my best friend and boyfriend is one of these people. He never ceases to surprise me with his actions, his words, and the way that he copes with the situations in his life. Just when I think I really know him and all his quirks and tricks, he finds ways to shock me. Often times its border-line unbelievable and hysterical, but this time it was more sentimental.

He merely asked me, “Are you happy?”

I didn’t really have to think about it. The answer is yes. Very. The activity I am pursuing holds so much value and joy for me. It is really hard and really difficult, but I love it. Even when it sucks. Even when I suck. It still brings me a ton of happiness while I pursue it.

His response? “So you are winning. If you are happy, then you are always winning.”

Hashtag. Winning.

IMG_20130228_161009He went on to explain his experience with hockey. After moving to Madison, some work buddies of his pressured him into joining their rec hockey team, even though he had never played before, let alone skated. At 22, he decided to learn how to skate and play hockey for the first time. He said “Do you think I had fun trying to learn to ice skate at 22? Of course not. It was really hard. But it made me happy. So it didn’t matter what happened on the ice or if I scored or anything. I was happy. So I was always winning.”


I have a wonderful friend who has the tattoo “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% of how I react to it.” Life is all about our attitudes and how we react to things.



Even if an activity/challenge/experience is not biologically sending chemical endorphins directly into our neuron receptors, it doesn’t matter. You decide if you are happy. I decide if I am happy. And this certain challenge I am in makes me happy. So the outcome is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter who else is there – who is better or who is progressing faster. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses and skills and backgrounds that make them great at things or maybe just make them sub-par at things.

But none of this matters. The only thing that matters is your happiness. And how awesome is it that we are 100% in control of that because it is an attitude that we all have power over.

Challenges are hard and they take time. And sometimes things don’t get easier no matter how hard we are trying. And sometimes you feel like you are giving it your all but it just isn’t enough.

But are you still happy while trying? Then you are winning.

You decide if you are happy. And rest takes care of itself.

So this challenge of mine. It is hard. I am not naturally good at it. But it makes me really happy.



About Melissa Faulkner

1. If I blog, someone will eventually discover me. 2. If someone eventually discovers me, I will become rich and famous. 3. If I blog, I will become rich and famous. Follow me for shorter, daily doses! @melisslyss
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