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There is something that has always bothered me about the phrase, “at least you tried.” It is the ultimate false consolation prize for failing to reach a goal. I know that it is nearly impossible to succeed at everything you attempt, but I find it far less helpful to hear those words than to hear actual encouragement after a tough loss. The thing that bothers me about the phrase is the assumption that this obstacle that was being faced is too big to actually get over. This term basically denotes the notion that one has been utterly defeated. I guess I generally dislike this term because, to me, it means you will never try again, or ever be successful in that endeavor. I understand that there are certain obstacles that we are only given one chance to overcome, but with things like that I rarely ever hear the words, “at least you tried.” I respect anybody who is working towards a goal, and if they fail, I prefer to encourage them to keep going for it, or to continue working hard to get back on track. At least you tried, is not an encouraging phrase, it is actually quite disparaging when you think about it. I know I have used this term in the past, but I am committed to remove it from my vocabulary, since encouragement is the best way to help anyone through a moment of failure.