Those driven toward excellence and winning, should never view failure as something that saps your energy, enthusiasm and vitality. Instead, it provides an opportunity to respond famously by animating, increasing your focus, and viewing the experience itself as an opportunity to learn, develop and adapt.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying significant failures won’t be frustrating and emotionally draining. What I am suggesting, though, is to acknowledge – in fact, honour – the emotion, without responding emotionally. There’s no doubt that that is easier said than done, however, that’s the approach will propel you toward achieving any goal that’s outside your reach.
Do you remember the famous Nike “Failure” commercial where Michael Jordan says:
“I’ve missed more than nine thousand shots in my career. I’ve lost almost three hundred games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”?
[I get goosebumps every time I see that commercial!]
Stay with me a little longer… Matthew Syed, in his book ‘Bounce‘, points out that Jordan is “a living, breathing testament to the ‘growth mindset‘.” MJ, in this Nike commercial, expresses “…a deep urgent truth: in order to become the greatest basketball player of all time, you have to embrace failure.”
Here’s what Michael Jordan also said:
“Mental toughness and heart are a lot stronger than some of the physical advantages you have. I’ve always said that, and I’ve always believed that.”
And, Thomas Edison, the American inventor, also echoes this point: “If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”
What’s Your Approach To Failure And Setbacks?
I find often we’re inattentively looking for new answers to life’s challenges, when the answers to our most challenging problems can be found in the lessons shared by others.
Seek out and identify the common denominators of success. (Disclosure: Their is usually nothing overly earth shattering and innovative.) Get behind good ideas and stay committed to the *process* of pursuing excellence.
There are no guarantees that you’ll get there. But the one guarantee is that if you don’t try, you definitely won’t.
As Pete Carril, former Princeton Basketball coach, said: “The smart take from the strong.”
“The paradox of excellence is that it’s built upon the foundations of necessary failure.”