On Seeing Theirry Henry on a Billboard

I saw a billboard the other day with a big picture of Theirry Henry, the French football star, on it. He loomed over the street, arms crossed. He looked cool, aloof, determined. Next to his face were the words: I hate to lose but I am not afraid to fail. I did not notice what Henry was advertising, probably sneakers or mobile phones or credit cards or something. Yes, success comes from welcoming your failures, and your failings. Winners are no better or worse than anybody else, just a lot more persistent. Indeed, it is often defeat that provides the energy for their amazing perseverance. Josh Billings, a 19th century American humorist, was getting at something like this when he wrote:

Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there.

And there is another way we are similar to postage stamps: We only recognize our real worth after we’ve been licked.