Deserving and Earning…Not the Same

Let’s talk about performance, competition and deserves. We just wrapped up the Olympic Games in London. Of course you have heard of the Olympics, they occur every 4 years and athletes from all over the world gather to compete and represent their countries in a variety of sporting events. The work and training that the athletes put in over the course of a lifetime; the hours in the gym, the sacrifices they make to be at the top of their game are awe inspiring. Many of the athletes are everyday people like you and me who have responsibilities to juggle while they prepare. So there is no doubt that they work extremely hard but sometimes when you work hard at something you tend to get a little entitled and think that you are owed something.

For instance, in the USA women’s 4x 100 meter relay team there was a bit of controversy. Here’s the quick back story. In between the Olympic Games many events have qualifying competitions. For the track and fields participants you have to qualify first before becoming an Olympian. Well this young lady Jeneba Tarmoh raced in the qualifying rounds and finished in a dead heat tie for 3rd with another runner, Allyson Flex. So the qualifying committee gave the women 2 options, they could have a run off for the 3rd spot or one of them could step aside. This was big news just before the actual Olympics. At first the ladies agreed to have a run-off to determine the winner, and the world was all excited and abuzz with anticipation, however the morning of the run-off, Jeneba decided not to race. She stepped aside citing that she felt she deserved the spot and should not have to compete for it. Really? Mmkay.

It gets better though, during the actual Olympics, Jeneba was an alternate, you know just in case someone got disqualified or injured. She was also part of the qualifying 4 x 100 meter relay team and as part of that team she did very well, helping the USA team qualify in 2nd place for the medal race. The coach decided to replace Jeneba and another qualifying team member with Allyson Flex and Carmelita Jeter (gold medalist in individual competition). That happens a lot because you want your very best runners if possible and Flex and Jeter had just won gold separately. The US women won the gold medal in 4 x 100 relay, setting a World and Olympic Record time.

Jeneba tweeted that watching the other women win the gold was “bittersweet.” FYI all the women receive gold medals, the qualifiers and the actual competitors. Obviously she feels/felt that she should have been on that team that actually ran and won the medal.

Here’s the problem with that and the lesson for us all. Nothing in life is guaranteed. Nothing is given to you. You have to earn everything you get in life. Although Jeneba trained hard and put in hours and hours of work and made sacrifices, so did Allyson! I’m sure Allyson felt she deserved to be on the team as well. And if you are like Jeneba and think you deserve something then dammit fight for it. She had an opportunity to prove herself. When given a chance to compete for something that you have worked hard to achieve then go for it. If you don’t fight, you will be watching from the sideline tweeting cryptic messages while the team is winning!

When you take yourself out of the competition you can no longer cry foul and say you deserve anything. Many of us feel we deserve more than what we have; money, better job, car or house. You’ve got to earn it. To quote Clint Eastwood in one of my favorite movies of all time “The Unforgiven”, “Deserves got nothing to do with it.” Go hard or go home.


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