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In America's fiction--- Everyone gets a trophy, for just showing up. EGAT undermines the spirit of competition and breeds mediocrity.

That sense of just showing up for the longest time informed and infected my thinking- A thought virus or meme started by a Woody Allen quote " 80% of success in life is showing up.". I suppose I bought into making the world safe for hypocrisy. Now I am more cynical.

I am more interested in the other 20% these days-the difference between good and great, between winners and learners. Showing up isn't good enough. That's Trophy Communism. The wussifcation of America  and Generation Snowflake  makes us soft.  America has essentially got rid of losing and many are suffering for it, and that is: The Millennial truth.

"Hay look how fantastic I am. I'm here,
 at The US Olympic Rowing training facility. I participated.
Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. And when you lose, you have something to strive for-first prize. For me, it is not an option- a socially acceptable self-deceit  designed to spare hurt feelings and puff up our self-esteem. In fact, when the truth finally shines through--that is the real downer.

How can you handle pressure, disappointment, or gain perspective in a world of manufactured triumphs?  Where is the resiliency?

I live and work with the British, so I don't inhabit a self-congratulatory society in which we constantly reassure each other how great we are doing. In fact, when I was standing at  a cross walk at a traffic light,  I got asked"Are you American?" and I said proudly "Yes, how did you know"..and The Englishman replied, "because you were smiling." It is still hard to shake off my malignant American optimism of just" being there" and "in it". Nevertheless, I don't deserve a trophy for doing something unconventional-living abroad.

To sum it up, trophies are best earned, not bestowed.


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