Mental Jewels: Fail Forward, Learn Lessons From Failure

Let’s face it… All of us will fail at something at some point in our lives. and the real truth is that the loftier your goal, the more often and bigger you will risk failing. The person who sits at home all day watching TV, content to have an average life probably isn’t failing all that much (except maybe at life… But that’s not for me to judge)

 

Those of us who aspire to set records, to change the world, to achieve new heights in our development, or  to impact thousands or millions will likely “fail” or fall short of our goals at some point. Road block will come up, people who we thought supported us will show their true colors, and we may even appear to fall flat on our faces several times.

 

Thomas Edison said of his many unsuccessful light bulb attempts that he didn't fail to make a light bulb 1,000 times, The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.

1,001st Step

1,001st Step

 

The only way any of these events truly become a failure is if they stop you from pursuing your ultimate goal, or if you don’t learn the lesson that these events taught you. Even in defeat there is plenty to learn… Some even go so far as to say that is the only time you truly can learn anything.

 

Applying this idea to weights, lifting, and having a physique that projects the beasts that we all know ourselves to be is quite easy. If you are trying to hit a certain number on the bench press, say 315 for the first time, and you build up to it for 8 weeks but miss it… Well technically you failed to make the lift, but there is plenty to learn from that experience.

 

  • Did you miss the lift because of technique?
  • Did the program allow you enough rest to make sure you were fresh to make the lift?
  • Did the program stress you enough to warrant an increase in strength?

 

There is plenty of opportunity to reflect, learn, and grow from this supposed failure. The only way to truly fail here is to give up on ever trying to lift more, to not learn anything from the event, and to just move on.

 

The “secret” here is that this idea is not just confined to weight lifting. As with Edison above this could be applied to a new invention, or music as Jay-Z has alluded to similar concepts in his songs -

 

But I will not lose, for even in defeat

There's a valuable lesson learned, so it evens up for me

Never Defeated, Always Learning

Never Defeated, Always Learning

 

So go forth Alpha warriors, conquer what ye will and fear not the failure that is inevitable. It is simply a necessary part of the process of becoming great at something, or forging a new path.

 

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