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After winning the Super Bowl MVP award this week, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles was asked what he would want people to take away from his journey.  Nick responded with this inspirational quote:

I think the big thing is don’t be afraid to fail. In our society today, Instagram, Twitter, it’s a highlight reel. It’s all the good things. When you look at it, you think, like, wow, when you have a rough day, your life’s not as good as that, you’re failing.

Failure is a part of life. That’s a part of building character and growing. Without failure, who would you be?

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Extraordinary blind long jumper Lex Gillette tells a story about when he was jumping for his high school at an event at the University of North Carolina about 8 years after he became blind.

Coach Brian Whitmer was his long jump caller, which meant that he was responsible for clapping and yelling so that Lex would know where to run and jump from.

They had a horrible start.  The coach’s claps were drowned out by the cheering fans, who were amplified by the indoor stadium and his voice just echoed through the stadium.

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Writer and avid runner, Haruki Marukami once interviewed the great Japanese marathon runner Toshihiko Seko, soon after he had retired from running.

He asked him, “Does a runner at your level ever feel like you’d rather not run today, like you don’t want to run and would rather just sleep in?”

Seko stared at the writer and then simply and sternly replied, “Of course. All the time!”

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With the sad, untimely passing of tennis great Jana Novotna at the young age of 49, I stumbled across a beautiful quote from the Duchess of Kent after Jana lost the Wimbledon Final to Steffi Graf in 1993.

Jana was almost inconsolable, when the Duchess leaned over and whispered, “I know you will win it one day, don’t worry.”

Five years later, those words proved prophetic when she eventually won the Wimbledon final in 1998.

We all come across people who have lost hope.

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It’s easy for NFL teams to settle for field goals.

They get reasonable field position, but don’t want to risk getting that far without getting something in return, so they take the kick, bank the 3 points and try to get a stop on defense.

It’s safe.

It’s almost guaranteed.

It’s still a score.

But what if they could do better?

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50,000 people finished the recent NYC Marathon.

50,000 people signed up and believed that they could do it.

50,000 people trained for months to build up their running capacity.

50,000 people turned up to the starting line.

50,000 people started with enthusiasm.

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After Richmond’s extraordinary win in last weekend’s AFL Grand Final, media shy star Dustin Martin was asked how the team handled their nerves before the big game.

He simply said, “Our desire to succeed has outweighed our fear of failure.”

A team that has so often underachieved on big stages was able to perform brilliantly under the brightest of lights.

A team that has so often buckled under the weight of the expectations of their long-suffering fans finally threw off that burden to play with flair and freedom.

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In the recent World Athletics Championships in London, Australian discus thrower came second and was awarded a Silver Medal for her achievement.

She didn’t win, but she was still smiling afterwards and was rapt with her efforts.

Why?

As a former World Champion, shouldn’t she be disappointed that she didn’t win again?

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Young Sydney Swans defender Alex Johnson last played AFL football in the 2012 Grand Final.

He was a star on the rise with a very successful team and the future looked bright, before a horrible run of injuries struck him down.

Since then, he has gone through 5 knee reconstructions, 12 operations and a serious infection in his knee, which has made it 1736 days since he last played.

I can’t imagine what that must have been like.

Months of boring, repetitive rehabilitation, followed by a significant setback.

Followed by more rehabilitation and then another setback.

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The above photo is of my 9 year-old daughter, Madison, who came 10th in her school division today, which enables her to go through to the regional finals.

For her, it’s a really big deal and she is sporting the biggest smile I’ve seen on her face.

But she wasn’t smiling when she was training on a cold, wet, foggy morning doing laps before school.

She wasn’t smiling when we said no to McDonald’s or other junk food.

But she was beaming after training hard, pushing herself on the day and achieving her goal.

Hopefully, she’s learned an important life principle.

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