Failure: Our Greatest Glory



If you watch top tennis players you’ll tend to find that sometimes they’ll need to find a rhythm. They’re not hitting perfect shots every time. Because they can’t. Perfection or the desire to be perfect is actually a fearful act. You make a slight error or sometimes a huge error and you course correct. Heck, even missiles need guidance systems to correct them.

We’re repeatedly told from school “this is the big exam” or “this is your big moment” and naturally we feel that not hitting expectations or potential is some kind of black mark on us forever. We’ll go for a job interview and Ms.Smith from primary has a friend of a friend that will come in like some Stazi agent and say “John set fire to the microwave in design and technology in year 9, I wouldn’t give him a shot if I was you.”We’re living in a society where everyone is frightened to make mistakes because no one wants to put a Facebook post up saying “failed at life”. But what is failure anyway?

Some will treat it as an opportunity to write themselves off. We set ourselves up for this win/lose mentality then decide to stop playing the game if we lose too much. Who wants to take a swing with a bat when they keep missing the ball? It’s the real life version of flipping the Monopoly board when things haven’t went to plan.

Some of us will face small failures while others will face and confront our worst-case scenarios. The interesting thing is that often our greatest obstacles are actually our greatest opportunities. People rarely learn from success. We pat ourselves and our ego on the back and move on blind to what we might have missed. But the failures? The ones that sting? They’re the ones that really teach us. Obstacles are opportunities. They make us…sometimes after they’ve broken us.

Personally? I’ve made a million mistakes. I’ve failed at hundreds of things I’ve cared about and I’ll likely fail at a million more. But every failure is actually a path. Sometimes in disguise. I once failed miserably in a job interview. Worst job interview I’ve ever had. The good thing? I learned more from one nightmare interview than I ever could from a hundred successful ones.

The Germans have a great word that has a double meaning – it means arse and “Staying power” – essentially it means sitting in your seat until the job is done – Sitzfleisch.

So remember to stay in the game. Don’t be afraid to take another swing. Because you might just make that real connection. If not, don’t worry, you’ll have a lot more chances.

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