One of the things I take it upon myself to do while training people is take them slightly out of their comfort zone. This doesn’t always resemble lifting more weight or performing more repetitions; more often than not, it means moving in a way that is slightly foreign, slowly at first, and then with more complexity as the motor pattern is grooved. Clients don’t usually like this, especially those that like to do well. Often what I am asking looks and sounds fairly simple. It poses a challenge because it is not the individual’s normal way of doing things. In order to add movement variability and diversity to a person’s exercise vocabulary requires being a little uncomfortable and not always succeeding the first time.
No one likes to fail. Unfortunately, the reality of deepening knowledge and skill requires failure. In fact, when you study things like success, happiness, and stress resilience, the common thread is failing often, examining the failure, and figuring out what can be learned for improvement to take place. The retrospective usually takes time to process for growth to happen, and it doesn’t guarantee failure won’t happen again. If instead of viewing failure as proof we aren’t good at something, we look at it as a challenge, to fail becomes less of a four letter word, and more of a possibility to transcend our current abilities.
Some failure facts:
Michael Jordan has said in post career interviews, “I’ve missed more than 900 shots…I’ve lost almost 300 games. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.”*
Kathryn Stockett, the author of “The Help,” received 45 rejection letters before an agent finally agreed work with her.
When Thomas Edison was asked by a reporter how it felt to fail 1000 times while trying to invent the lightbulb, he responded, “I didn’t fail 1000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1000 steps.”
*From the book, “Performing Under Pressure,” by Weisinger and Pawliw-Fry