Celebrating #SmallWins

Someone once told me that it takes 60 compliments to balance out one insult. That’s 60 “you look so cute today”’s to make up for one “that color is so… different”’s. In the academic context, especially within an environment like Emory’s, this sounds something like 60 versions of “your point makes sense, here” or “there’s a lot of good work” to cancel out one criticism.

Criticism is a good thing. As someone who is extremely self-critical, which often gets mistaken for self-consciousness, I have incredibly high standards. Criticism, while often associated with the negatives, is what makes us better. Competition, or the need to be the best, is the ultimate driving force in success. There are times, however, that we don’t receive enough praise to balance out our criticism, which can leave us feeling isolated, unsuccessful, or hopeless. Emory’s community of highly driven, and often highly critical, people make it hard to see through a cloud of feedback, whether it be good or bad. We’re all trying to do our best, but we’re holding ourselves to standards that might not be attainable with the level of success around us. That’s why I urge you to take an initiative to celebrate #smallwins. #SmallWins are wins that we get for just being here: a beautiful day outside, some quiet among the construction, the chance to watch a squirrel bury its nut (that is so cute they’re little patting is adorable), a shortened class, a mistakenly larger coffee than you ordered, a good day in the DUCling, or dogs on campus. It’s easy to disregard these things, because they seemingly just “happen”. While that’s true, they’re the little pushes, the little victories, that our world is sending us that whisper motivation; motivation to do better, motivation to step out of your comfort zone, motivation to stop and observe, or motivation to keep going.



Whatever your reason may be, take some time to think about everything around you and pay attention to those little encouragements that life is sending your way. The world cares about you, the people at Emory care about you, and you’re doing amazing. If you need a pick-me-up, take a second to breathe in the air of lullwater, find some squirrels to watch, make a trip to the humane society, indulge in Starbucks, or whatever you need to do to remind yourself that, ultimately, you’re winning despite what anyone else may throw your way.