Happy to Fail

I’ve been told we can learn a lot from children. Last week, my three-year-old son took me to school…

Over Thanksgiving we visited the gym where my wife Theresa and her siblings grew up playing ball. My son Malachi attempted shots for the hour and half we were there. Here’s the thing; he never made a basket. Not one. No exaggeration, he probably finished close to 0-100. Although it was somewhat pathetic, as I watched him focus and strain his whole body to get the ball to the rim, I envied his willingness to stay with it. How could he miss 50 straight shots, but then take the 51st with no doubt or shame? On the contrary, he continued with complete joy! His enthusiasm never wavered.

Observing my son made me think about some powerful ideas:

“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.” – Zig Ziglar
You’ll never be good the first time trying something new — but you must work through the growing pains and awkwardness to have a chance at becoming any good. I recently began doing more radio work, and when I listen back on the shows or games, I cringe at times and think, “What in the world was I trying to communicate?!”. Nevertheless, I know only with practice and repetition will I have the opportunity to become great.

“Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly.” – G.K. Chesterton
This newsletter is a great example. Regardless of the level of my writing, I felt this project was a worthy enough pursuit to begin. The chance to impact and encourage others overrode the inadequacies I may have felt. Even though I’m a novice writer, I’m willing to put myself out there because of the purpose driving me to do so. 

“Winners make the most mistakes.” – John Wooden
One of the first things I always say when training young basketball players is, “It’s okay to make mistakes.” In fact, if they’re not making mistakes, then they’re not getting better. Only in pushing outside of their comfort zones and being okay with messing up (often looking foolish in the process), will they improve… Are you willing to fail? Michael Jordan was cut from his HS varsity team and missed over 12,000 shots and lost over 350 games in his NBA career. Brett Favre threw more interceptions than any quarterback in NFL history. Thomas Edison failed at nearly 3,000 experiments before inventing the light bulb. Everyone has setbacks. Nobody bats 1,000%. It’s not about perfection; it’s about progress. Those willing to get back up after a fall will learn more and be rewarded with more opportunities to experience success.

Failure isn’t final. It’s an essential part of the process. Thanks Malachi for the inspirational example!

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