The problem with success is you never know when you are one step away. Any time you quit, you do so realizing that one more try might have done the trick. Sports history is filled with examples of this – from a last second touchdown to an extra inning home run. (Especially for the 2011 Texas Rangers… but I digress)
This isn’t just limited to sports. In fact, we have opportunities in all of our daily lives where we give up and don’t realize how close we actually were. If I had studied a little more, would I have passed that test? If I had driven a little further, would I have found the right exit? The only time you DO know, is when it works out. The rest of the time you don’t.
I have a picture hanging in my house that I took a few years ago. It is an infrared photograph of a cypress tree growing out of a pond. I took it during a family trip to Caddo Lake, Texas. I planned to spend the weekend photographing the area, in hopes of getting an image I could enter in an upcoming photography competition. Unfortunately, Sunday rolled around and I had nothing. I had spent hours taking pictures and came away with only a handful of decent images. It just wasn’t working out for me.
As we were leaving the area, we passed a rest stop of some sort – right on the fringe of the park. Although I was tired of shooting and essentially given up on my goal – we pulled in so I could check out the scene and look for one last shot. The image I got was of that cypress tree. I titled the image “Silent Cypress” and entered it in the competition. It ended up getting a near-perfect score of 98 and won a few awards. To this day, it is one of the most successful images I have ever created – and it would have never happened if I had not made that one last stop. Every time I see it, it reminds me of the importance of pushing on until you reach your goal.
Of course, there have been TONS of times that I did make that last stop and nothing came of it. Maybe those were times that I misjudged when to make the last stop. If you make a habit of letting the “last stop” be the one where you reach your goal, you will find that there really are no last stops – only finish lines.