It was the 12th time he had joined that contest. It was also the 12th time that he experienced such a big disappointment. He had seriously prepared for each participation, hoping that the next one would be his turn to win an award. But so far, he had never even made it to the top ten.
His young heart was shedding a bucket of tears. How could life be so unfair? He made his way up a hill to spend some time on his own. He did not want to face his family and announce that he had lost again.
As he sat on top of a big rock, he saw a bird soaring up the sky in great speed and ease. The strong wind, however, forced it to slow down. He watched the bird struggling hard to gain its velocity, refusing to be defeated by the forceful air current. Yet, as the gust increased in momentum, the fluttering of the bird's wings seemed to glide into a halt.
"The bird is just like me", he told himself. "I do my very best but to no avail."
Just then, the wind turned moderate. The bird took advantage of the momentary stillness to flap its wings once again so it could escalate further up the clouds.
Watching the bird rising higher and higher, he took a deep breath and muttered, "If only there were less obstacles, I might make it as a champion."
The bird proudly continued to rise above the atmosphere. He stared with awe at its graceful aviation, wishing that he too could have the chance to elevate above his failures. The air had remained motionless, making it possible for the bird to fly effortlessly. He hoped his troubles would also come to an end so that he could accomplish his goal without a hitch.
Suddenly, the bird started to descend very fast. It had gone too far into space where there was a vacuum, a place where there was no air to breath, no air to lift its wings. There was no way for the bird to survive in a vacuum. Its eyes would burst, the internal organs, blood vessels and cavities inside it would enlarge and eventually implode. Breathing was obviously impossible.
Definitely, the bird needed the air in order to exist. Sometimes the air would be tranquil, sometimes it would be turbulent. Nevertheless, the air remained essential.
Thus, he too learned a valuable lesson. Like the air, he now realized the importance of his trials. They had actually helped surface his talents which would have otherwise remained dormant. They had taught him strength of character and the confidence to keep on enduring.
He finally made a decision. He did not want to drop into a pothole in complete surrender to life's afflictions. Someday, he might emerge a winner. But even if that would never happen, he had already developed into a person who knew how to turn obstacles into opportunities.
Just like the bird, he would soar high with the air so he could make a smooth landing. The air... the trials...they all made life meaningful.
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