Condoleezza Rice is absolutely one exceptional individual. After reading her book "Twice as Good," and learning about the struggles she has overcome and the drive she has to succeed, I have nothing but absolute admiration for this exceptional woman. She reaffirmed my respect last night during her speech at the Republican National Convention. I couldn't get to a pad quick enough to capture her exact words but what I heard went something like this.
"Self esteem is the result of achievement, not lavish praise and awards heaped upon someone for simply showing up."
This is a country that celebrates and rewards exceptionalism. We understand that second place is not acceptable, and in reality is the first loser. This is the attitude that lifted our nation above the rest, and drove us to become the most powerful country on the planet.
There are those who challenge this mantra. They look to celebrate attendance. "Here is participation trophy," is how they smother the drive to achieve. Instead of encouraging success, they remove the hunger to improve by checking one's progress and improveing the results. Quite frankly this is a form of Socialism; redistributing the admiration of a job well done. We have to keep score, we have to have winners and losers, we have to want to get better.
When your number one there is always another trying to knock you off. Could anyone even fathom that those forces might come from within? Try as they might, they'll never tamp down the will to win.