I’ve never been a great golfer. Something about the way I swung a baseball bat for so many years, made it feel impossible to change to a golf swing. I’d get anxious and nervous over the ball, unlike any kind of nervousness I ever felt playing baseball. This stemmed from the fact that the baseball swing was ingrained in me from an early age, and the golf swing was not. So I’ve struggled for years to figure out how to understand and feel the golf swing. Over time, as I’ve began to play golf better (though only a little), I’ve started to understand how failure can be a key ingredient on the road to success. I’ve learned 3 things from failure that have helped me have a better golf swing, as well as, become a better teacher and mental performance coach.
- ) Failure only leads to success if we learn from it
I’ve heard it said many times that failure leads to success, but I disagree with this notion. I believe that failure only leads to success if we choose to learn from it. You see, failure can happen in a variety of ways, from not working hard enough, to working hard in the wrong direction, to trying to push the envelope, but one thing failure always does is it teaches us a lesson. However, the only way we learn that lesson is if we choose to see listen. In class, a teacher may have graded your paper and explained to you how to do better on your next exam, but the only way to do it better next time is to listen to the instruction and apply it. As I’ve golfed numerous times and failed I’ve had to learn to seek out advice when I fail and understand that I may need to do things a different way in the future to have success.
2.) Failure isn’t always avoidable
Risk and reward are two words that are put together often. The bigger the risk, the bigger the reward, but also the bigger the failure can be, and honestly, sometimes it’s unavoidable. So if we’re going to inevitably fail, what’s the purpose of taking the bigger risk? Shouldn’t we just play it safe? In golf, maybe, but in life if we always play it safe and avoid failure we will have a tough time achieving greatness, because we won’t ever need to grow. If you choose to take bigger risks (not silly/stupid risks per se, but bigger ones), you will inevitably have to grow through failure to make it happen. In golf, I’ve had to slow my swing down to learn new concepts, and when it’s time to unleash the speed again, I get nervous and anxious because I’m afraid to mess it up, I’m afraid to fail, but the funny thing is, without taking the risk and ‘going for it’, I’ll never grow and get better to the potential that I’m after.
3.) Failure can be fascinating
Are you ever curious as to why you fail? Curiosity is critical to overcoming failure. When we look at failure through the lens of ‘I can’t do this, it’ll never get better, why do I keep trying?’ it gives us a defeated attitude and doesn’t help us make the commitment to keep learning. However, when we choose to be fascinated instead of frustrated and look at failure through the lens of curiosity we are able to give ourselves a chance to change and to grow. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it’s crucial in the survival of us through failure.
Failure is an intriguing topic and one that I enjoy exploring. It is not the key to success, but it will certainly happen on the way to success, whatever that success looks like for you. If you choose to learn from it, stop avoiding it, and become curious with it, you will have a chance to overcome it each time and enjoy more successes in your life.