We are taught rules as children. We learn right from wrong, and we find out how to act in society in order to be deemed acceptable.
One rule we are taught is not to fail. We take part in sports days from five years old where we are rewarded for winning, and get nothing if we lose. We get into sports that show us coming last means consequences like relegation or being knocked out a cup. At all costs, we must not fail.
As we get older pride also takes over. It isn’t just a matter of not failing at something, it’s doing well enough so that our pride isn’t tarnished. It’s not as simple as first and last anymore. As children, we get over it instantly and pick ourselves back up. But now, it’s first or nothing. Success, or a kick in the teeth and diminished pride.
But really, it’s not as black and white as that
It is so ingrained in us that failure is a bad thing and is something we must avoid, that we forget that, ultimately, failure teaches is a lot about ourselves.
Failing a squat enables us to realise that weight is a little too heavy for us. Tripping up as we walk into a weights room (hands up, who’s been there?) tells us we need to pay a little more attention. Having a really poor workout and failing at a lift or two helps us to realise that not all training sessions will be perfect.
Failure is a lesson we need to learn
Failure is something we need to embrace.
Does that sound stupid? It shouldn’t do. If we fail and squat and we get mad, what does that do to our mentality? It probably makes the rest of the gym session poor quality. But if we appreciate the fact we even had the courage to try that higher weight, then it gives us a sense of belief and empowerment that we will get there eventually, even if we fail again along the way.
Getting knocked down like that is one way to help inner strength. It’s realising that not everything is a success, but that in failure there is something to be learnt. It shows us that we are brave for even trying. Trying a new exercise that’s completely alien to us and not quite getting it, going for a PB and just missing it, or even walking into a weights room for the first time and not quite feeling comfortable enough to do much.
Learning to fail will help you succeed
We need to forget what we were taught as children. Success does not mean greatness. Just like failure does not mean abject. It’s better to fail at a lift one week and nail it the next, than to not have the courage to up the weight because you’re happy in your comfort zone where you always succeed. Break out the box, embrace failure and gain even more success.
You learn so much more from picking yourself up than never having known that it’s like to fall down in the first place.