I have a little secret to let you in on: Winning things is not my forte. Some people are surprised when they hear it. I hope people I encounter think that I am a relatively successful person. Of course it would follow that when I throw myself into something, I succeed.

But as my family can attest, it seems when I try for things, they rarely-if-ever work out. From relationships to contests to scholarships to application to whatever else it might be, sometimes it seems the harder I try the less luck I have of getting what I think I want. But in my not too long life, what I have learned and encountered is that success isn’t dictated by one off accomplishment -- by a win here or there, this title or that title. Success is typically achieved through perseverance, creativity and guts. And there are few things that force creativity more than apparent failure.

So next time you do your best without as much as an honorable mention, just remember being recognized for your accomplishment doesn’t make value. Doing something of value does. And that is what real success is all about.