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Victory and defeat are nebulous concepts. Although most of us will not be fighting pitched military battles, we will often find ourselves in positions of contention where the concepts of victory and defeat are very relevant.

Contests and interviews are one such realm of contention. We all have our hopes and dreams. To fulfill them in today’s world, we find ourselves contending against other people in contests and interviews, demonstrations of our own ability, drive, and uniqueness.

And yet, when we stop to think about it, how many of us will be doing something that we want to do? To put it simply, how many of us will win the selection process? The odds of a person winning an encounter is incredibly slim, especially given how many people there are.

Let us put these odds into perspective. I will use my personal experiences. In any given Science Olympiad Invitational, there is an average of 60 competitors, and they give medals to the top 10%. In the long run, you will win a medal in one in ten invitationals. The average number of invitationals a year is about 5. It would take you two years before winning a medal. That is given simple probability, not taking into account your knowledge and skills in a particular subject, neither is it taking into account the ability of your opposition.

Or perhaps, consider a college/university. I am applying to the United States Military Academy at West Point. They too, have a 10% acceptance rate. The odds of getting in are not favorable to you. But, with the academy, there are numerous criteria that you must fill before even being considered for admission. Other colleges and university are similar, albeit with a less intense process.

Since many of the most direct paths to our dreams are difficult, it falls to us to decide upon three options. We tenaciously pursue our dreams nonetheless, we give up, or we withdraw and find a new path to our goals. Many of us will chose either of the first two paths, but a select few will decide upon the last. Perhaps more of us should consider finding a new path to our goals. Maybe then, more of us will be happy with where we ended up in life.

This article was inspired by another.

ENTJ poet/philosopher, political/military strategist. Student of the classics. Catholic religion, Daoist philosophy.