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Your Relationship with Failure
Over the past 14 years as a mental performance coach, I have had to help many cricketers with a very common problem…
I do not know where or how… uhm… well perhaps we were simply taught by our parents, coaches, or environment…
However, many athletes (humans) have an aversion to making mistakes… we hear this when athletes say things like… ‘I don’t want to look bad’, or ‘I have to be perfect’ or, ‘I cannot mess up’.
Often these sayings are due to bigger things on the athlete’s mind like selection, their career, and income operating in the background.
All athletes, driven by the expectations of their vision… want to get better or improve.
And herein lies the inner conflict… because failures tend to be perceived as holding us back from the success we want (vision realised). We try and avoid them.
Yet I think this is exactly where we need a rethink on failure…
Failures are a spotlight that shines into the area where we need to focus our attention.
Like a lighthouse tells ships where to go, failure is information for us to work with.
Thomas Edison the inventor of the light bulb said… “ I have not failed, rather I found 9999 ways that do not work’.
Failure therefore is actually not failure at all… those moments when you slip up or fall down are the exact things that you need to get where you want to be.
They are learning opportunities.
They are the steps you take.
They are part of the journey.
Take a sport like cricket… the best batsmen in the world are successful between 30-40% of the time. This means that they fail more than they succeed.
This holds true for most sports out there.
I am not suggesting that we go out of our way to make silly mistakes, or the same ones over and over again…
I am rather suggesting that we approach our performances with maximum focus and effort, and when mistakes happen… instead of feeling bad, or stressing about some of the things mentioned before…
We dig into them to understand the What, How, and Why of the failure.
If your intention is to not fail… you are not setting yourself up for success either.
So what is your relationship with failure like?