Overwhelming failure

divingfail2I get uncomfortable. In fact I get extremely uncomfortable when I am stretching myself outside of what I think I can do. Whether it is running an even longer endurance race or attempting stand-up comedy in front of a sold out house, I am anxious about it. So how do I pull it off?

Most anxiety comes from negative experiences that imprinted your young mind long ago, and now subconsciously direct you to back off and give up when you approach that kind of pain again. It’s a reasonable self-defense mechanism.

But like a diver learning to dive, you’ve got to do the belly flops before you get to graceful. You’ve got to suffer the pain and embarrassment before you can get to comfort and glory. Every gold medal-winning Olympic dive has thousands of dives that led up to that moment. Every hilarious comedy bit had hundreds of bombs that came before it.

I’ve found that it’s not a 1:1 ratio of success vs. failure. You’ve got to have far more successes than failures to get really good at something. We give a lot of power to the failures because they hurt, and they stick out in our memories like traumatic signposts telling us to go back home. We give them way too much power.

It’s not enough to barely tip the scales. I believe you’ve got to overwhelm the negative with positive experiences and obliterate them from your memory. So lace up your shoes and run more races. Stand and deliver your message over and over again.

Your moment is coming. Don’t turn back now.

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Explore posts in the same categories: General, Motivation

3 Comments on “Overwhelming failure”

  1. Joe Franklin Says:

    One of my favorite sayings I have written in my 1980’s Day Timer- “Failures are the stepping stones to success!”

  2. chris Says:

    As always…
    an insightful perspective.

  3. Ed Foley Says:

    Excellent reminder that one should never give up on something worth mastering. You even touch on the fact that perfect practice makes perfect. Thank you as always for your insightful perspective, David.


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