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  • Writer's pictureTristan Wilson

“You Either Win Or You Learn” - Jalen Hurts

Jalen Hurts has shown resilience in the face of setbacks throughout his football career.

In 2018, he was seemingly on top of the college football world. The year before, Hurts had led the top-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide to the National Championship against Clemson as a freshman quarterback in the elite program. During his Sophomore year, he helped his team make it to the National Championship yet again. I was at this game in the Superdome and recall that Alabama seemed uncharacteristically out of sync to start against the revved up Georgia Bulldogs who had jumped out to a 13-0 lead. (1) At halftime, Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban made arguably the boldest decision in recent college football memory: He benched the proven Hurts and replaced him with a freshman backup named Tua Tagovailoa. Alabama rallied behind Tua’s impressive performance and ended up winning the title. You would never have known that Hurts had been benched as he joyfully cheered his teammates from the sidelines. The following year, he competed for the starting job against Tua and lost out. Instead of immediately transferring or throwing the towel in, Hurts supported his teammates as a dutiful backup the entire season, even helping ‘Bama win the SEC championship with Tua injured. Hurts later decided to play his final year at Oklahoma where he yet again led his team to the playoff and ended up second in Heisman Trophy voting. The way he carried himself during his season as a backup at Alabama is a case study in humility and grace. Hurts later remarked:

“I think it happened for a reason, me deciding to stay at Alabama. I wouldn’t change that decision for the world.” (2)

The Philadelphia Eagles likely appreciated those attributes when they selected him in the second round of the NFL draft. In a short 3 years, Hurts has developed into one of the top quarterbacks in the league. Last Sunday, he played a phenomenal Super Bowl Championship with his teammates and they were bested in a shootout by the All-World Patrick Mahomes and his Kansas City Chiefs. Sidebar: C Stapleton crushed the anthem.

Photo Credit: The Wall Street Journal

When I opened up the Wall Street Journal app on Monday morning to check commentary about the game, I expected to see stories about Patrick Mahomes playing through a high-ankle injury or Andy Reid’s mustache. Instead, I saw a front page story about the "losing" quarterback. Weird, right? Well, this is not your average quarterback. Writer Jason Gay praised Hurts for his humility and resilience. When asked about the game, the 24-year old Hurts channeled Mandela when he stated:

“You either win or you learn, that’s how I feel… You decide if you want to learn from it. You decide if you want that to be a teachable moment. I know I do.” (3)

This attitude is applicable not just to football, but to contractors bidding work. The pain of losing a bid that “we had to have” or that I thought was “our to lose” often burned me like the feeling at the tip of your finger when you touch a hot pan on the stove. But there is a fountain of learning available afterwards about the skills, psychology, strategy, and approach we can learn from ourselves and the competition. Reviewing and analyzing the results, data, assumptions, and the market are all post bid loss opportunities. Blame and frustration are natural reactions but neither of those help much. Most people skip the critical step of a debrief and it is advantageous to not be like most. The beauty is that there is often another opportunity right around the corner through which to apply these learnings.

Jalen Hurts understands that mindset is a leading indicator of our future results. The struggles we encounter in life are growth opportunities if we let them. By choosing to learn from losses, contractors can continually improve and achieve greater success in the future.

Thanks for reading our post. At Edgevanta, our proprietary SaaS platform enables highway contractors to track and forecast critical market dynamics and increase the predictability of the project acquisition process. Have a fantastic week!


Tristan Wilson

CEO and Co-Founder

Edgevanta, LLC



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