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The Wheaties box

It’s easy to get inspired by an Olympic gold medalist.

They have practiced, trained, and made compromises their whole lives toward a singular purpose.

But we make a mistake when we assume those things are a foolproof recipe for success.

We forget that for every gold medalist there is someone who got second. And forth. And eighth. And sixteenth.

Each of these athletes worked just as hard, practiced just as often, and gave up just as many other opportunities over the years. But they weren’t the best on the day that mattered; there is only one gold medalist in their event.

Maybe their goal was to win and they thought they had a shot. Years of hard work and dedication, ending in disappointment and heartbreak.

Or maybe they were thrilled to make the team: everything beyond that a bonus.

There’s no room on the Wheaties box for 16th place. We’ll never hear their story.

The world we live in would have us believe that if we simply work hard enough we too can succeed at whatever we put our minds to.

But most of us, despite extraordinary effort, are destined for 16th place.

And maybe it’s all still worth it.