All we ever want to do is win. We want victories, not losses. It’s not something that can be helped as we believe loss to be innately negative. Whether or not this is in itself true is a different story. Nonetheless, it is the general consensus.
The question most of us struggle with is, obviously, what we should pursue in life. What and whom. As the future can never be protected with total certainty, we are planning our entire lives on nothing more than dreams, wishes and hopes.
Life is often as hard as it is because we feel like it should be that way. We feel life is difficult because getting what we want out of it is difficult.
Success -- true success -- is incredibly rare in this world. We are all capable of greatness, yet most of us fail to achieve it.
Why? Because we fail to realize and accept the smallest of victories. We’re so busy focusing on the big picture, that the smaller gifts life has to offer us pass us by.
In the long run, smaller victories may arguably be more important than the larger ones. Here’s why:
1. They give you the confidence you need to continue in pursuit.
Having larger goals, which encompass smaller ones, is important in life. It gives us a sort of purpose.
Even if the goals aren’t unique or especially profound, they do give us a reason to do the things we do. As long as you find sufficient reason to pursue something or someone, you should go ahead and pursue it.
Of course, some goals are objectively better or grander than others, but as everyone is different, with different likes and dislikes, and different capabilities, as long as good results from your goals, they are worthy pursuing.
The larger the goal, the more people and other variables it involves, the more difficult it will be to achieve. You shouldn't let this discourage you from pursuing your dreams, no matter how daunting it seems.
2. They create momentum.
The only reason we pursue our dreams in the first place is that our egos want us to; they believe we can accomplish great things and desire that greatness. And it's great; it’s the reason people can accomplish things others believed impossible.
The amount of energy it takes to get from point A to point B, in this scenario, however, requires a lot of energy.
When we first get started, we’re excited and anxious to get ahead. We approach the tasks at hand with enthusiasm and curiosity.
As time goes on, however, without getting the slightest taste of victory, our egos begin to question themselves.
They begin to wonder if they are as strong and intelligent as they believed themselves to be. They question if it’s even possible for them to attain their goals.
What little victories allow for is momentum -- with each little win, we feel more confident in ourselves. We feel reinvigorated and begin to once again find pleasure and fascination in our work and journey.
Without this momentum, we would -- plain and simple -- give up. We would have no choice as we wouldn’t be able to find the energy to continue.
3. They make your failures more bearable.
If you are going to attempt anything new in life, you’re going to fail the first time, 99 percent of the time. Failure is unavoidable.
While smaller failures tend to roll off our backs, the larger ones can often hit us square in the gut, forcing us to buckle over.
The problem with pursuing bigger dreams and goals is the grander the pursuit, the more brutal the failure. The higher up that mountain you aim to climb, the bigger and rougher the fall you have to prepare for.
Picking yourself up and dusting yourself off isn't easy. It’s easy to imagine, but much more difficult to do in practice. We tend to take failure very personally -- even though we really shouldn’t.
Little victories give us tiny boosts throughout our lives, comforting us and reminding us that greater victories await you -- so long as you stick it out and refuse to give up. There’s a lot in life worth giving up; giving up on yourself is not one of those things.
4. They feel really good.
They do. There are plenty of ways victories -- large and small -- benefit us. But it all really boils down to the fact that they make us feel better.
They make us feel happier, less stressed and worried. Even the smallest of victories have a way of bringing a smile to our faces.
In life, it can be difficult to reason whether the path we choose is worth the trouble and the risk. As there are tradeoffs to be made around every corner, every time we pursue something important, we give up on pursuing something that may prove to be equally important to us.
Large victories obviously feel the most incredible, but that feeling doesn’t last indefinitely. As human beings, we have no choice but to live in the present, only reminiscing occasionally with an air of nostalgia.
While the joy from achieving small victories won’t last any longer, they are more common -- meaning that you can hoard them if you wish.
5. In the end, what matters most is the total sum of your victories.
If a person’s life is the sum of all experiences, the sum of all thought, emotion, pain, pleasure, memories, then the best way to live life is to maximize the total good in our lives.
Of course, there are plenty of arguments to be had on how we are to define "good," but if we are talking about personal victories then we should focus on personal goodness. In that case, the best way to live our lives is to maximize the goodness we experience, feel, and create.
Quantifying our experiences from a pleasure vs. pain perspective isn’t an incredibly difficult task. Some joys are greater than others, just as some pains are greater than others.
This, of course, gets incredibly complicated when we factor in the necessity of certain pains for the bringing about of other joys, but even if we keep things as basic as possible, it makes sense that our lives must be a combination of victories, small and large alike.
The larger victories obviously rank highest, yet the smaller ones are much more common -- easier to come by. More importantly, they are presented to us regularly. Where as larger victories take years and years of hard work and focus to bring to fruition.
The true problem lies in the fact that most people have a difficult time accepting these smaller victories as victories. We fail to find joy or pride in them. Which makes sense as most of us don’t put much effort into the smaller things.
We allow them to pass by without much thought and therefore without much reward. The key to a happy life may very well be finding joy in the smallest of successes.
The beauty of this is that you can collect plenty of them while on your journey toward your largest and most important life goals.