18 February 2013
Nobody ever wants to fail. When people think of “failure”, it usually is negative. Failure is commonly viewed as disappointment or not reaching desired goals. More often than not, it is associated with losing. After we experience failure, it is our choice how to internalize the experience. I believe that after failure, most people choose to stop taking big risks and stop from daring to dream big and instead let the failing experience label themselves as not good enough and adopt self-limiting beliefs about their own potential. The true fact is that we all fail; even the greatest amongst us failed many times over. Babe Ruth lead the Major Leagues in strike outs, yet he was known as the greatest hitter of his generation. Michael Jordan was “cut” from his high school basketball team and missed countless last second game winning shots, but despite these failures he is known as a true champion. Abraham Lincoln lost 7 elections, but his continued belief in himself and the causes he believed in propelled him to be the greatest U.S. President. If you study and read about most successful people, it is apparent that “failure” is not such a bad experience IF you realize and take the steps necessary to learn and grow thereafter. I truly believe that failure is part of the process to attain success. Failure is a necessary ingredient to greatness. “Fear” is another component of failure. All of us deal with the emotion of fear and probably have a long list of things we are fearful of. For instance, most people have a fear of public speaking because they are worried about failing in front of others or being judged or labeled for their performance. Fear, just like failure, is a state of mind. It is a perception or a way we think that can limit or inhibit us from taking the necessary actions and commitments. The good part of fear is the emotional response given to us so we can avoid danger and unnecessary risks. Additionally, the emotion of fear can also be a positive thing when used correctly; it heightens your senses, betters your focus, and drives you to become even better prepared. It is critical that we insure to never let fear paralyze us from taking ordinary risks that do not jeopardize our health or safety. I believe fear is meant to serve us and not to limit us. My personal experiences with failure and fear have changed recently. I used to view failure as a terrible thing. I was so hard on myself that if I didn’t see positive, good results then I would just give up and move on to something else because I hated the feeling I experienced after failure and defeat. I felt embarrassed. I felt it lowered my self- worth; I let the results determine whether I was good or bad. Specifically, as a college softball player, in the beginning I was afraid to dive for balls that I felt were too far because I didn’t want to fail. I didn’t swing at certain pitches because of past failures before. In these instances, my thinking and the way I viewed failure and fear, put me in a mindset that caused me to be defeated before I even attempted. My college softball experience and my college education, are teaching me that: failure is only a positive thing; that it is a learning and growing opportunity. IF I would of just came here and played it safe and never failed, then I would not have ever gotten better nor developed the mindset that failure is part of the process of success. Part of the challenge of playing college softball here is to pursue excellence; to see how good you can be by working hard everyday. All of my teammates are good and very athletically gifted. We challenge ourselves and each other, to be even better. College athletics and competition push you to be better by exposing your weaknesses (failure) and putting adversity and obstacles in your way (fear) and then seeing how we respond. We all have been challenged to understand our thought processes; and we go through and engage in mental toughness sessions to change our mindset and our thinking. We read about successful people and understand how they encountered and overcame fear and failure to ultimately achieve success. We share our own personal experiences with each other so we understand that the same process Babe Ruth or Michael Jordan or Abraham Lincoln went through will be the same process we are going through ourselves. Athletics forces you to fail so you can eventually succeed. Every time I fail now or do something wrong, I realize that I just learned another valuable lesson and that I am ONE STEP closer to the right way.
Some of the most successful people in this world have failed miserably, but yet they SEE the experience as an opportunity to learn and grow. It is a different perspective; it is a different mindset; it is a different way of thinking about a situation; it is different from the average person. Successful people view failure as ONLY a temporary setback; they may get discouraged and often are disappointed; but their resolve is only strengthened and they find a way to “get back up after falling” and continue on the journey of chasing their dreams. My own experiences tell me that, the more you fail at something the closer you are to succeeding, As long as you don’t give up and keep moving forward you haven’t failed. I now believe that the only failure in life is not taking risks. When you take risks and allow yourself to be outside your comfort zone, you grow.