In a beauty pageant, the winner isn't crowned until the end of the pageant. But the contestants cannot wait till the end to start believing that they will be the winner.
In life, we honestly don't know what all we are doing will lead to -- what the outcome will be. How will our kids turn out? How much will we achieve in our careers? How much money will we be able to earn, save, give away? How many lives will we impact and toward what end? How well will we love those closest to us? Some might say that a fair assessment of life cannot be made until the end...but then, that's too late.
It's hard to love well if you don't believe you can love well. It's not fun to climb a mountain if you think it's impossible to reach the summit. Don't leave the port if you have already determined in your head that the waves will capsize the sailboat. In life, just like in a race or a beauty pageant, we do ourselves and those we love and the dreams we hold in our hearts a disservice when we don't believe that we will win, when we don't believe that we are the victors.