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Tiger Woods: Those that give up don’t go up

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Tiger Woods. PHOTO: Tim Bradbury/Getty Images/AFP

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts” — Winston Churchill

No man is ever defeated; we simply quit. John C. Maxwell said: “I have never known a man who quits his way to the top.” It is not failure when you are finished; it is failure only when God has finished with you. In life, it is hard to beat a person that never gives up.

April 14, this year would go down as the day the world witnessed the greatest comeback in sports and entertainment industry. After serial scandals, failure in marriage, failure in investments, failure in securing sponsorship deals, failure in health (having faced crippling back and leg injuries that led to multiple surgeries and nearly ended his professional golf career) and going down from Number 1 to unseeded in golf ranking, Tiger Woods has finally done the unthinkable feet by winning his 5th Masters title, marking an incredible and improbable comeback from injury and personal hardship that ended a nearly 11-year-long championship drought.

Paul J. Meyer said: “Ninety per cent of those who fail are not actually defeated; they simply quit.” Robert Kiyosaki said: “Losers quit when they fail. Winners fail until they succeed.” Rising from years of doldrums, personal defeats and media shaming, the jinx-breaking win at Augusta National, where he won his first major in 1997, was Woods’ 15th time winning a major. Prior to this time, he hadn’t won a major championship since his victory at the United States (US) open in 2008.

With five Masters titles, he is now just one victory away from tying the record for most Masters wins held by American Jack Nicklaus, who has six. The victory also brought Woods closer to tying Nicklaus’ record of 18 major championships.

I learnt something unique when I watched his last stroke that potted the hole to which CBS Sports dubbed, “A Return To Glory,” that effort only releases its reward after a person refuses to quit. Henry Ford, the ‘father of modern automobiles,’ said: “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”

Ford made us realise that we are the principal factor in determining how far we can go in life’s journey. In life, great works are performed not by strength, but by persistence. It is an unchallengeable truth that those who give up don’t go up.

Thomas Edison failed 999 times before he finally got the result that brought about the light bulb. When Edison was asked how he surmounted consecutive failures to bring about the light bulb, he enthusiastically said: “I didn’t fail 999 times, I only realised 999 times of how not to make a light bulb.” No wonder he once said: “Genius is one per cent inspiration and 99 per cent perspiration.”

Edison became a beacon of light to the world. Edison died at 84 on October 18, 1931 in New Jersey. Three days later on the night of October 21, as a national tribute proclaimed by President Herbert Hoover, millions of Americans turned out their lights to plunge the country into momentary darkness to illustrate how the world was before Edison discovered the light bulb. The lights were switched off as a tribute to his legendary life of persistence. Edison once said: “There is only one thing that is failure and it is quitting.”

A former US President, Bill Clinton, said: “As long as you don’t quit, you’ve always got a chance.” Quitting is a permanent ‘solution’ to a temporary problem; it is never the same as failing. One is temporal, while the other is permanent. Persistence conquers resistance. Our approach to failure would determine how long we remain in it. Great people see failure as feedback, while common people see it as setback.

People who kept on trying when there seems to be no hope at all have accomplished most of the important things in the world. Walt Disney said: “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.” Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point. Real courage is the discovery that you may not win and trying when you know you can lose.

A day after Woods won his 5th Masters title and 15th major tournament in a rousing resurrection of his career, President Donald Trump said he would honour him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. “Because of his incredible success and comeback in sports and, more important, life, I will be presenting him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” he wrote on his Twitter handle.

Former US President, Barack Obama, also wrote on his Twitter handle: “Congratulations, Tiger! To come back and win the Masters after all the highs and lows is a testament to excellence, grit, and determination.” Courage is the most important of all virtues, because without courage, you cannot practise any other virtue consistently. Thomas A. Edison said: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.” Failing doesn’t make you a failure, but quitting does.

To the youths, never quit, because once you learn to quit, it becomes a habit. Be bold and mighty forces would come to your aid. Don’t ever give up on your dreams and aspirations. Don’t be afraid to fail, because only those who dare to fail greatly can achieve greatly, as our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.

We are never defeated until we give up. Woods was once a fallen hero, a crippled star, a wretched family man, but now a Masters champion again. Woods lost his impeccable image to a sex scandal. He lost his health to four back surgeries that left him unable to get out of bed, much less swing a club, but nevertheless, he held on to hope.

No matter who has given up on you, the truth is that you still have a chance. Never count yourself out, even when others count you out. Life has two rules: One, never quit, and two, always remember rule Number One.


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