Where Is The Drive And Will­ing­ness To Fail?

Washington County Enterprise-Leader - - OPINION - Kevin Wil­son KEVIN WIL­SON IS A FOR­MER MIS­SOURI STATE REP­RE­SEN­TA­TIVE WHO WAS BORN IN GOOD­MAN AND NOW LIVES IN NEOSHO. OPIN­IONS ARE THOSE OF THE AU­THOR.

So over the last cou­ple of years I have had more than my fill of doc­tors and health care providers. I have been blessed that the vast ma­jor­ity of those in­di­vid­u­als have been ex­tremely com­pe­tent, but, re­gard­less of how much train­ing and ex­pe­ri­ence they have, the bot­tom line is that they are still hu­man and still fal­li­ble.

The same goes for the tests that I have been through. Last year my on­col­o­gist in Jo­plin made the com­ment to me that the tests I just had in Hous­ton weren’t al­ways ac­cu­rate. That was re­as­sur­ing. The same ap­plies to my last checkup when the ra­di­ol­o­gist used the words “think,” “might,” “maybe,” and “a lit­tle.”

The other re­al­ity is that we are not the only pa­tients that th­ese doc­tors treat. And when you see mul­ti­ple doc­tors for dif­fer­ent rea­sons, the left hand doesn’t al­ways know what the right hand is do­ing. This can make for some very se­ri­ous prob­lems if we are not on top of our own treat­ment plans and the rou­tine test­ing that needs to be con­ducted. So, the point is that we are ul­ti­mately re­spon­si­ble for in­sur­ing that we are get­ting the right ad­vice from the right sources at the right time.

You might think that this col­umn is about health care and the per­ils of our health sys­tem, but it’s not. I’m just us­ing this as an ex­am­ple of how we have to be re­spon­si­ble for look­ing out for our­selves. In the case of our health, the vast ma­jor­ity of us don’t un­der­stand medi- cal lingo, so we end up just say­ing “What­ever you say” and we aren’t proac­tive in ask­ing ques­tions and get­ting an­swers.

Ditto in our so­ci­ety, and that brings me to the real point of my ram­blings. Way too many peo­ple in this coun­try to­day just go along their merry ways, ex­pect­ing the govern­ment to take care of all their prob­lems - hence the rea­son a self- iden­ti­fied So­cial­ist is get­ting real sup­port from Amer­i­can vot­ers.

Our coun­try was once known for its rugged in­de­pen­dence and we re­warded peo­ple for hard work. Amer­ica be­came great be­cause of the will­ing­ness of peo­ple to take risks and tempt fail­ure. With great risk comes the pos­si­bil­ity of great suc­cess and yes – great fail­ure. It is said that it is not im­por­tant how many times you fall down but rather how many times you get up.

The great­est suc­cess comes when you fail re­peat­edly only to stub­bornly push on un­til you ul­ti­mately suc­ceed. And some­times suc­cess is a fail­ure and fail­ure is a suc­cess. Many times the end is not as im­por­tant as the ef­fort that you put forth in the quest to suc­ceed.

That drive and will­ing­ness to fail is what we are now miss­ing in this coun­try. We have be­come a so­ci­ety that em­braces medi­ocrity and de­pen­dence on some­one else to pro­vide for our needs. There is a com­mer­cial for one of the satel­lite tele­vi­sion providers that uses a fam­ily of “set­tlers” who set­tle for some­thing be­sides their prod­uct. That’s what many in this coun­try have be­come — “set­tlers.”

It seems that to­day’s mantra is “ev­ery­one is a win­ner.” Even youth teams that fin­ish last of­ten re­ceive “tro­phies of par­tic­i­pa­tion” lest their self- es­teem is some­how dam­aged. Let me let you in on a lit­tle se­cret: there are win­ners and losers in what we call the game of life. And, just as in suc­cess and fail­ure, los­ing is not al­ways a loss and there can be vic­tory in los­ing and dis­grace in win­ning.

Ul­ti­mately we are re­spon­si­ble for our lives and our de­ci­sions — not our par­ents and, con­trary to what many es­pouse, not the govern­ment. In just 50 years time, JFK’s quote, “Ask not what your coun­try can do for you — ask what you can do for your coun­try,” has been sub­verted to “What can my coun­try do for me?”

There is hope for our na­tion, but not as long as we turn first to the govern­ment to solve our prob­lems and take care of our lives. In my way of be­lief, govern­ment ex­ists to pro­vide things for us that we can­not do for our­selves — such as roads and schools — and to keep us safe – po­lice, fire, and the mil­i­tary. I be­lieve we do have an obli­ga­tion to take care of those that truly can­not take care of them­selves. Note that I used the term “can­not” and not the term “will not.”

If we can ever get be­yond the bom­bas­tic rhetoric from both sides of the political aisle, then I be­lieve this year’s pres­i­den­tial elec­tion could be­come a ref­er­en­dum on that very is­sue of who is re­spon­si­ble for our own lives. The real ques­tion we have to ask is if JFK’s words have be­come hol­low and mean­ing­less in the Amer­ica of 2016.

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