When we talk about trying, we often equate it to the first step towards meeting a goal. And that's pretty true. It's unlikely that we'll get anywhere in life unless we're willing to really give it our all, and truly dig in. I've been reading quite a bit about grit and perseverance, and while they appear to be all the rage in education currently, I think they've been all the rage in life for a long time.
The fact is, if we don't really roll our sleeves up and get to work, we'll never really earn or accomplish anything. We'll never know what we can accomplish until we've done so.
I was reading an opinion piece by Alfie Kohn in yesterday's New York Times (found here) which speaks about whether there is inherently anything wrong with awarding those who don't "win." I'll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions. For me, I agree with much of what is in this piece, as I think the trial is much more important than the end result. If a player has given his/her all in a competition and still hasn't won, then why shouldn't that player be rewarded for truly doing his/her best?
The challenge, of course, is staying away from rewarding those who are coasting. I recently read a piece (I unfortunately can't remember by who) that mentioned that if life doesn't leave you mildly stressed at the end of every day, then something needs to change. This applies to all aspects of learning as well. If we don't feel as if we're physically and emotionally drained each evening (but not beyond a recharge), then we aren't trying hard enough.
We need to have a vision for success, but also one where the pathway there is all about giving it our all. As with anything else, you won't get anywhere if you never leave where you are. I apologize for the caps. . . on my editing screen formatting is good. Sorry. :)