Better than Medals
I live to compete, to level up, and not to repeat. I gave it my all but didn’t expect for me to fall. It was my first time to lose. That was last 2015, where I joined the BulPriSa Declamation Contest. It wasn’t my first time nor my second time competing; I won a gold and a few bronze medals before and I was really confident that I can win, but suddenly, the tables have turned. A defeat I never imagined. And it crushed me. I failed. Although my coach, my family, and my classmates comforted me, I still felt bad and nobody knew that. I was afraid to lose. But worse than that, I am afraid to lose again.
The following year, my coach asked me if it’s okay to let others have the opportunity. How can I bounce back if I didn’t have a chance? But I was rejected. That made me doubt my abilities.. Am I not worth the chance?
But that was the season when I learned to humble myself.
I realized I’ve been too complacent. So I decided to cast my fears away, to not be afraid of losing. And slowly, I had the courage to fight back—to do things because I want to, without considering the prize. I fearlessly tried out for spelling. “Even if I fail, life still goes on.” That became my mindset.
It was a surprise to learn I was qualified to compete. If I didn’t have the courage to try again, I wouldn’t have discovered another door. I’ve regained my confidence. I learned to trust myself and not listen to the fear that hindered me from growing. And finally, I made it. Out of 20 people, I ranked 3rd. And not just that, I’ve been qualified to join the provincials. And know what? I am proud to say that I lost in the provincials. I may have lost that battle, but I won the fight of fear. That was a life-changing lesson for me.
“I cannot make it and I do not have the guts to achieve it.” That’s what I used to say to myself. I’m just a nobody who dreams to be a somebody someday. Your doubts will tire you out. It feels like you are in the Olympics, waiting for your turn in the weightlifting competition, about to lift the 105-kg barbell. But you failed to lift it. You cannot contain the weight. At the second try, you did your best to lift it, but still, it wasn’t good enough. But in your last attempt, you finally know better and at last! You did it!
Defeat will only be a defeat if you think it is. You must have the fortitude to stand up and not be stuck at a certain point in life that you think you’ve failed at. True courage is when you continue running in the marathon of life, even when you are tired or injured. Some may not believe you, but what’s important is that you believe in yourself first.
Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.“ If you’re afraid that you are alone on your journey, please don’t be; He’s got your back. And not just God Your family will be there. Your friends will be there. And I am saying this because these people have always been there for me for every victory and loss.
Once, I’ve been afraid, but God gave us one gift to face our fears. And that is courage. Without courage, I would not be able to write this. Without courage, you will not be able to reach this far. Without courage, I will not be able to bear the hardships of life. Do not fill your life with fear, but instead fill it with faith. And with that faith, no one can stop you. You just have to meekly accept whatever life serves you. Without the ifs, without the buts, but with courage; just courage. Courage is free and it is the fundamental weapon in the battle of life. And when that war comes, don’t be afraid to lose.
I was once blinded with fear. If you think you’re too small, remember that David defeated Goliath. Fear made me strong; the weakness I’ve been struggling with strengthened me. Don’t be afraid to try. There are millions of opportunities. And I’m pretty sure that at least one is for you. You just have to be brave. And do you know why I am brave? Because I was first afraid. We can never be brave if we were not afraid.
When you succeed, you have no reasons to fail. But when you fail, there are more reasons to succeed. And success comes with being courageous. Your heart is your biggest influence. It pushes you to be brave, to withstand the earthquakes of life, to keep shining in this world full of darkness. Life will be worth living if you have the courage to face you fears. And after you face your fears, you will see the reality: that you are special.
15-year old Jedrek is learning to wade through life with more hope, less gravity. Other than his pursuing his academic goals, he loves keeping himself busy (he loves to travel, photography and binge-watch on TV). Follow his adventures on Instagram: @revitalized.jed.