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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The people who fail try just as hard

Henry Worsley's last message is a rare episode in the narrative of human accomplishment. It's not often we get to hear the sound of somebody failing. But, as he says, the same thing happened to Ernest Shackleton. He shot his bolt. He came up short.

The same thing happens to most people who try difficult things. They fail. All political careers end in failure. The team trudging off the pitch disconsolate and empty-handed at the end of the big final tried just as hard as the team dancing with joy for the cameras.

Because we can't face this truth we always tell ourselves that the winners - whether explorers, athletes, politicians, actors or scientists - won through because they tried harder and longer than anyone else. They didn't. The only difference between the winners and the losers is this. They won.