Between Prep School, college and my specialty school after I graduated I went to 6 academic review boards……. I think I’m the only person to ever do that and successfully finish the program…….being 1012 out of 1018 academically is not a brag.
My list of personal failures is incredibly long. But I quit counting them years ago once I realized they didn’t matter. They were just stepping stones to success in one way or the other.
How we define success makes this idea easier to digest. For me, success is just learning something in the process…… You can become pretty dangerous when you broaden your aperture for how you define success.
I played basketball for my dad in high school and his motto on mistakes is this: “You are going to make mistakes, so make them at full speed” I wasn’t afraid to make mistakes when I played for him and it made me a good player and a better leader. In college I played for a guy that would sit me out for any mistakes. I became timid and afraid to fail. This led to more mistakes. I got worse and was very unhappy. It effected my ability to lead others.
In CrossFit there are two main ideas that we teach:
1) Expanding the margins of your experience. Simply stated, it just means when you get good or comfortable with something make it more difficult in order to find out where your new failure point is.
2) Virtuosity or doing the common uncommonly well. The path to being a virtuoso is riddled with mistakes and failure. It is fundamentally impossible to get there without mistakes.
Mistakes and failure aren’t something I would consider good, nor would I consider them bad.
They are simply a necessary and inevitable part of the process of growth.
So how do we rid ourselves of the fear of failure or mistakes?
The good news is we do it every single day inside the gym…. don’t believe me?
Did you put the bar down when you knew you didn’t need to? Did you pull back on the run because it hurt? Did you miss that lift? Did you keep going or attempt the lift again? Of course you did, we all did.
Those are failures that we can learn from everyday. Those are lessons we can take outside of the gym and apply them to our lives to help us begin to tackle big scary problems at work or at home.
How do we get through Murph? Well, we just start shuffling our feet, then we just do one rep a time. The entire time we do this while our mind tells us to stop.
Next time you are presented with a struggle or problem at work or at home just start shuffling your feet and pick up the barbell.
You’ll make mistakes along the way, but you’ll get it done and in the grand scheme of things getting it done is all that matters.
Just ask the 500+ people that were smarter than me who quit before they graduated………