Failure means many things. To people in field sports like high jump and pole vault, it may mean your last three attempts. To people in lifting competitions, it means that one weight you could not get. These sports remind me just how precious failure is.
The mainstream perspective on failure can be more negative. Failure does not have to be about doing something wrong, just like success is not about doing everything correct. You can put all your effort into a pole vault jump and miss the height. If you’re tired, scared, unsure, or injured, you have nothing left to give. Sometimes you’ve met your limit. That is not a bad thing. That’s a great thing. Now you know your limit. You can decide to back down, push it out, or find a way to work around it.
Not everyone is searching for that next level. Failure will let you know when you’ve gone to far with what you’re willing to give. Not everything is about attack. Failure will let you know how to better strategize to make things work better. Failure will give you some great insight on what needs work. Maybe it is strength, speed, or agility. Maybe it is a game of mental endurance or visualization. Maybe it’s about other things like timing or equipment. Last year, I learned how important clothing can actually be. Trendy workout pants may look cute, but who cares when you catch the flare leg opening with your other foot and fail on a box jump. I don’t care…anymore.
This brings me to my next point. It is ok to laugh about your failures. While there are some serious implications to failure, try not to let it ruin your experience. Many people give me a weird look when I admit my failures in an event. I do almost immediately and I do it freely. It does not mean I did not enjoy every bit of pain and passion I put into an athletic endeavor. Your ability to recognize failure is more than negative could help you learn and do better things the next time. Take the time to enjoy your failures as much as you enjoy your success. You may find the outcomes are not that far apart.
Sunny Norwood Buck
Fitmark Ambassador 2013