This comes from the context of watching sports, but you also have to realize that the analogy also applies to so many other areas of our lives. You need to keep playing until you hear the whistle, because nothing is absolutely certain until the play is blown dead.
Let me explain. I was watching (American) football on Sunday and there was one play during the Eagles and Falcons game that really illustrates this point. There was a fumble just behind the line of scrimmage and the Falcon player (defense) picks up the ball and proceeds to run down the field. It looked like he was long gone and well on his way to a touchdown.
Then, out of the corner of the screen, you see an Eagles player bolting into the frame, running so fast that it looked like the Falcon player was standing still. He catches up and tackles him. The Falcons went on to score a touchdown on the ensuing drive anyhow, but I have to tip my hat to that Eagles player. When everyone else seemed to think that catching up was a lost cause, he pushed harder. He believed that impossible is nothing and kept playing until the referees blew the whistle.
Chasing the Lost Cause
I feel that this approach to professional sports is much the same as the approach we should all take to our non-sporting professional lives too. Play to the whistle. Never give up. Nothing is a lost cause.
Sure, in your heart of hearts, you might believe that your team has already lost the game, but that doesn’t mean that you should stop putting in the effort. If nothing else, playing hard to the whistle gives you more practice and experience in toughing it out during high pressure situations. This way, when the game really is on the line, you know how to persevere. You know how to play hard to the bitter end.
Not With That Attitude
There are going to be situations where you’ll inevitably ask yourself, “What’s the point?” And that’s how you find yourself in a losing situation. That’s how you find yourself going from just losing the game to being completely blown out.
You hear it all the time. “I’m never going to (fill in the blank).” The person feels that he or she has no chance at achieving that goal, so they don’t even try. They don’t even get started. They’re not playing to the whistle, because they’re not even suiting up for the game. You will never succeed with that kind of mentality.
Instead, go in with a winner’s attitude. Go in with that strong work ethic. Even when you are faced with adversity, play through it and don’t skimp on the effort. If you’re going to do something, do it well. Play hard to the end.
P.S.: Something that I neglected to include in the original post was a concept known as “rage quitting.”
This is a term that may be familiar with people who play video games online. Basically, it a “rage quitter” is when someone exits an online match before the win or loss is officially recorded. They’re on the losing side and don’t want that loss on their record. Playing hard to the whistle (or to the end of the match, in the case of online games) also means accepting your losses gracefully. If you lost, own up to it, learn from it, and prepare for the next game. Artificially inflating your win-loss record does nothing to improve your skills or ability.