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Rudra Pandey


Who are winners?

I was watching the movie “Little Miss Sunshine” in flight from London to Boston. Movie was OK. But, I loved the definition of winners in the movie. The character of grandfather in the movie defines winners like this “those who are not afraid of losing and who try different things are true winners – it does not matter what the end result may be”. Very true – many people in the world do not want to try new or challenging things because they are afraid of losing or getting embarrassed. When one does not try or does not even participate, winning is not going to be for the person. After I heard the tag line, I turned the movie off because I did not need to watch the rest of the movie. Thousands of questions started to hit me. I felt like I got mantra for my own life. Why did I felt so? The definition of winners was not new to me? Why was the definition coming from the old character in the movie making me feel so much restless? Why was the definition challenging me even when I was accepting it whole heartedly? I had no clue of what was going on in mind.

winners_2.jpgI tried to forget the definition but I could not. All of sudden, I felt two different personalities (A& B) rising inside me. One part of me was saying, “It is all crap – this definition is wrong; just because we try something, you can’t be considered winner. We have to win the game to become the winner. The movie character is trying to make losers feel good and is twisting definition of winning.” The other part aggresively agreed to the definition and was saying, “When we try, we may win or lose. When we lose, we will learn a lot. Those who learn and move on are winners even if they lose.” So there were two contradictory feelings inside me. Two personalities were fighting and I could not decide what to do. I could not let them fight too long because I was scared of getting too distracted and disturbed. I had to take side of one of those. I supported movie character’s definition. But, I was getting challenged by the personality A : “Tell me why. You have to give me reasons and examples. You can’t simply force me to accept the definition.”

The definition about winner in the movie was like a universal truth to me and I did not feel that I needed to give any example to support it. I found the definition matching to every winner I have ever known, seen or heard of. I thought the person B inside me was just trying to challenge me negatively. But, I felt bad that I could not convince person B. I tried by saying, “Look whether you believe it or not, no one knows for sure what end result might be unless the game is not a fair game. When you do not know the end result, only people with winning mentality participate and they must be considered winner for their courage and can-do attitude because losers would not even bother to participate. Losers participate only when they know end result. I call that cheating. Those who win by cheating are losers.” Some examples of winning by cheating that I gave to the person B were:

1. Girija Koirala winning Nepali Congress president election.
2. Gyanendra Shah establishing business houses like TATA distribution center and Surya Group in Nepal.
3. Saddam Hussein and Zia-Ul-HaQ winning election by 99% margin.

I do not consider Girija, Gyanendra and Saddam Hussein winners. These are losers. They have won by cheating. They knew the end result before participating.

“Oh, I see. What are examples of true winners?” The person B seemed to be convinced a bit. The examples of winners that came into my mind were:

1. Nepali people participating in April 2006 uprising in Nepal. They did not know the end result till they participated. Fortunately, they won. They would have been winner even if the end-result was otherwise.
2. Day laborers getting to street every day in search of work instead of begging. Some days, they find work and win. Some days, they do not work, but still win because they learn new tricks.
3. All those kids who go to school and participate in exams. Some get top score and some fail. No matter what, they are winners for trying and having courage to sit on the exams.

Trying is beautiful and it makes the effort interesting and purposeful. Each of us who try has a desire to win. Desire to win is more powerful than the actual win. Desire to win creates a lot of winners and produces a lot of wins as we move towards the end result. In the movie “Little Miss Sunshine”, the granddaughter participates in the little miss sunshine competition with strong desire to win. But unfortunately, she gets excluded from the stage for breaking stage rules. Still, she comes out winner as she makes her parents proud for trying without fear. The little girl participates in the competition in spite of being little chubbier than other little beauty queens and exhibits her inner strength ignoring her outer look. Those who try get to show their inner strength and those who do not depend upon their outer look and wait someone else to give him/her an opportunity. It is better to explore opportunities than to wait for someone to offer us one.

Finally, the two personalities inside me settled. Both resolve to the conclusion – “winning starts with trying and those who try are the true winners”. I will never forget this plain and simple statement. My flight from Kathmandu to Boston became purposeful as I was able to analyze this universal truth during the flight. Thanks to the movie “Little Miss Sunshine.”

We have a beautiful country. Let us try and build it. All of us can win.