At the end of a hard practice or tough competition,...
“If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.”1 “We fall down, and get back up.”2 “Don’t grow weary in well doing, for at the proper time we will reap a benefit if we do not give up.”3 Keep fighting… keep pushing…keep perusing … “We gone fight, till we can’t fight no mo’!”4
Athlete’s understand this concept fully. Be it in the pursuit of greatness or the effort to learn a new skill, every athlete must endure seasons of trial and error. The first time an athlete picks up a racket or straps on her sneakers she welcomes opportunities to make mistakes, learn from them and make mistakes a gain. She first learns the game —the rules, the fundamentals, the technique. Then she attempts to demonstrate what she’s learned. She won’t get that swing just right the first time. As a novice athlete, she won’t have perfect form for the first several tries. She’ll swing and miss many times, yet she makes the choice to keep coming back.
It took me a while to learn the concepts of my track and field events. I certainly did not grasp the triple-jump right away (even though my body seemed to inherently catch the gist of it). It took a long time of listening, learning from other others, trying and failing to get an inkling of what I was doing. It also took me years of competing before I finally learned how to sprint the 400-meter dash. “Failure” is imbedded in the life of the athlete. They accept it and even embrace it, because they understand that is how they move toward success. Athletes must be willing to miss the shot, or form, or mark. They must risk missing again and again as they make one attempt after another. Athletes can’t get tired of messing up (e.g. doing the wrong thing) because messing up is always a risk when they’re willing to play the game. And the willingness to play is only way they get to the achievement they’re after. (Enter Michael Jordan quote here)
What makes a person who is not tired of failing a candidate for success in life beyond athletics? She’s willing to take the next step again. She gives herself time to actually achieve what she wants in spite of the number of misses in her past.
Learning is a series of attempts and failures and occasional successes —even as we’re doing drills work or when we’re just scrimmaging. We go after goals and dreams, and failure is going to be a part of that journey. That’s okay. We gain more than the prizes we seek when we choose not to quit.
Choosing to take the step is about you not the goal you are after. The process of setting goals and reaching for those goals help to shape us as individuals. Every roadblock we get through, every disappointment we get over, every storm we stand in and wait for it to pass is a victory that builds our character. We become people of substance as we are exposed to new problems that we feel inclined to solve.
The pursuit of this life with God can be a challenge in itself. From quiet times to not losing your cool in traffic there are so many things to “get right”. The apostle, Paul, was very familiar with the internal battle between trying to get it right and yet still doing it wrong. He writes about it in Romans 7:14-25. But, for as many times as we will “miss the mark”, the grace of Christ and His sacrifice in enough to compensate for our mistakes. Do not get tired of failing. And, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9) It matters more that we keep trying, keep caring, keep loving and remain right relationship with Christ. His grace is sufficient for you.
When we choose to stay in the game, greatness begins to happen within us. We learn, we get better, our minds open up to things we didn’t know before. We become stronger for other challenges which means we can survive anything life throws our way. We have the potential to become better people who in turn impact others and help them be better. Far deeper than attaining a fleeting prize, our true success is not what we are accomplishing but who we are becoming in the process. Don’t Get Tired of Doing the Wrong Thing.
1. Anonymous 2. Kirk Franklin 3. Galatians 6:9 4. Derrick Moore Pre Game Speech (https://dmospeaks.com/)
Disclaimer: This title “Don’t Get Tired of Doing the Wrong Thing” is in exact reference to failure in the pursuit of excellence not in respects to morals and behavior. Failure can be caused by a number of things including practicing bad form, executing incorrectly or just doing things wrong. Always evaluate the reasons for failures and what improvements need to be made (We’ll deliberate this more in the nugget Watch Film). Once you know the right you are supposed to do, that is what you keep trying on doing. The key is to first be sure that you are attempting the correct thing, then don’t get tired of trying to get it right. If not, you’ll live another quote by Michael Jordan, “You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way.”
- Share your experience of persevering through “failure”. How have you developed through your experiences?
- What strategy do you use to stay encouraged to try again?
- How do you determine the right time to let it go?
Leave your comments below and continue this journey with me. We’ll harness insight from the sports we know, love, and play and implement them in life beyond athletics. We’re all still going pro even if it’s not in our sport.