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Losses Lead To Lessons

my authentic me Aug 29, 2022

My favorite quote regarding failure comes from Michael Jordan who said: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” I love this quote because it reminds us that no success is possible if we are not willing to experience failure. Failure is simply part of the process of eventually winning. However, Jordan’s quote stops short of something that I know had to be a part of his process. We can’t just accept failure as part of the process. We must be open to the lessons that come from those failures that make it less likely in the future. Failure is inevitable. Learning from it is a choice that is necessary if we are going to fail well and avoid the same mistakes in the future.  

Learning from failure is a conscious decision that requires acknowledging when something has gone wrong and owning one’s part in it. Lessons cannot be learned when we are in denial. The most powerful thing we have in any failure is owning our part in it and fixing it. It is easy to say what other people should or shouldn’t have done. While some of us are able to own our failures, others have problems moving on from them and we let the failure paralyze us from moving forward into our future.  The key to making a loss into a lesson is to:

1. Own it. Take responsibility for your part.  Learn what needs to change as well as what works.  

2. Make all necessary adjustments. Learn what you must learn and implement these into your life.  

3. Always get back up. Once you have learned the required lessons, it is time to implement them into your everyday life.  Make them a part of your daily routine until they become a habit. 

It Hurt Like Hell

Our psyche does not like pain. Pain is the reaction in our brain that tells us not to do something again. This is great when it comes to touching a hot stove or stubbing your toe. However, the emotional pain that comes from a failure has to be channeled to eliminate an element that didn’t work not to eliminate the entire project.  

Moving on from failure requires that we not only identify the glitches and master the skill, but that we are willing to try that same goal differently and again. The only people who fail are people who are brave enough to try something that they haven’t done before. People who never seem to fail are either not trying anything or others are not close enough to see the times that they had to try again. Failure is a necessary step on the road to progress. It is part of a journey that will not settle for stagnation. The choice comes in whether we fail, learn, and move on, or fail, refuse to learn, and get stuck. Failure is another opportunity to acknowledge that an attempt was made, didn’t go as planned, but then that means you have another opportunity to get it right. Four main lessons that can always be learned from a loss:

  •  Respect. For every winner, there is a loser. You have to respect both. ...
  • Resiliency. It's ok to be disappointed or upset after a loss. ...
  • Review. If you review the why in your losses and strengthen your weaknesses, new opportunities will arise. ...
  • Humility. Losing challenges us and keeps us humble.

It is important to lose because we develop empathy for others in that situation, and we build a platform from which to improve, to grow, and to approach the same and other circumstances with greater strength, into the future. We win or we learn.  In the end the choice is ours. What will you choose?



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