Charlie's Blog: Fighters and Quitters


Fighters and Quitters

Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it.

The conventional wisdom divides the world into winners and losers. That dichotomy has never agreed with me, but I have always been at a loss to replace it with something better. Then, it hit me one day. There are no winners and losers. There are only fighters and quitters.

The day it hit me came when the property manager at our apartment complex made a comment about my humble efforts to walk the path around the courtyard after my brain injury. She told my wife that I was a "fighter." I didn't feel like a fighter at the time. I felt like a tragic loser. I had to make the choice between "try" and "wait to die." So, I chose to try. That choice and the subsequent efforts made me a fighter instead of a quitter.

That episode showed to me the ridiculous nature of the winner vs. loser dichotomy. Being a winner or a loser is what the world says about you. Anyone can be a winner. Most everyone is a loser. Being a fighter is when you choose to stay in the struggle of life instead of giving up. Fighters become indifferent to winning and losing. What matters most is not quitting.

I divide the world into fighters and quitters. A fighter is the paraplegic who decides that the wheelchair is not the end of his life. The quitter is the young man who retreats to his parents' basement to escape the cruelty of the world. Circumstances are not what make you a fighter or a quitter. Your decisions are what make you fighter or a quitter.

Fathers push their sons to become winners, but this backfires on them spectacularly. The sons experience failure early and opt to quit instead of fight. The blowhard dad calls his son a loser, and the son agrees with him. The rest is tragic.

The better way is for fathers to teach their sons to be fighters instead of quitters. You carry on in the face of defeat and failure. Those setbacks are just an inescapable part of life. Those things defy you, but they don't define you.

I refuse to call someone a loser. But I will call that person a quitter. I see a generation of quitters today. The world has tainted the well with that winner/loser poison turning so many into quitters. At any moment, they can turn into fighters. They simply have to will it.

I don't know when I became a fighter. My life has been a real disaster, and I have wanted to give up more times than I can count. I haven't given up. I have faith in God who strengthens me. That is ultimately why I am a fighter. My only requirement in life is to not quit.

I don't care about winning or losing. I only care about not quitting. God will handle the winning. I choose to stay in the fight. I only have one rule to follow. Do not quit.

UPDATE: One of the great examples I can give about fighters and quitters is the movie, Rocky. My wife had never seen the movie before, so we decided to watch it for our movie night. She liked the movie until the ending where Rocky loses. She wanted him to win. That was the feel good ending, but that ending is too easy and not realistic. Was Rocky a loser at the end of the fight? Yes, but we don't care. Rocky was a loser, but he was a fighter. He refused to quit. He wanted to go the distance, and he did.

Most of the time, winning and losing is not up to us. It is not in our power to win. The only things truly in our power are fighting and quitting. When you fight, you may not win. When you quit, you always lose.