Michael Jordan says “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”
If the great Michael Jordan attributes his success to his failures, why is it that the majority of folk are so scared of failure? Why does it make us quiver in our boots, break out in hives and reduces us to tears? I don’t understand it!
Have I felt fear before – of course I have! Have I been afraid of failing – of course I have! I am no different from any one else out there, but here’s the thing – once you understand that we all fail on some level every single day, there is absolutely no reason to fear failure. Ok, I am not talking about the type of failure that constitutes a life threatening or debilitating situation here – of course that should be looked at separately and individually and the risks taken into account. But I am talking about the everyday failures that we encounter – things like making the wrong career choice and perhaps going into something that you have no passion for as a result of that, or not researching something properly and then purchasing a very expensive something that then does not meet your requirements or even starting a business that just does not get off the ground and you end up going into liquidation. Yes, those are the everyday failures that many people experience, deal with, get over, learn from and then move on to bigger, grander and more spectacular successes than they ever could imagine.
Why do you think that is? Are they any different from you and me? Not really hey! The one thing that sticks out about them though, is their “mindset”, the way that they react to any given situation that they find themselves in.
I was watching Masterchef Australia 2011. There was a young chap that got into the top 50 (I forget his name now), in that particular journey he ended up in 3 consecutive elimination challenges, having failed in the pressure tests. Gary (one of the judges) asked him why he was grinning from ear to ear on learning that he was once again in an elimination challenge – his response was something like “No worries mate, I get to cook again!” Most of the other contestants had only cooked once or twice but because he kept finding himself in the bottom 3 and he had to cook his way out of that, he had ended up at this point cooking 5 or 6 times and his take on this was that the more he cooked, the more he showed what he could do and the better he was becoming at it. The result, he was in the top 24! How cool is that! Was he afraid of failing – I am really sure that he was, but he knew what he wanted to achieve and that is what he focused on.
How do you think Michael Jordan felt standing there, taking a shot that he absolutely knew, could lose the game? I’m sure he also felt a profound sense of fear and clearly he did not give up, but took the shot anyway. Was he upset about his failure to deliver the shot – I have no doubt that he was! Thing is though, he didn’t give up on the game, he went back and practiced more. He took what he had learnt from missing that particular shot and turned it around and he delivered, time and time again!
It never stopped him from doing what he loved, he got up, dusted himself off and tried again, doing things slightly differently to ensure that he got a different outcome. Were all the outcome’s successful – I doubt that too, but the point is he kept going, he kept learning, he kept trying and that is what makes him and all the other successful people out there different.
It’s about us controlling the failure and not the failure controlling us, by taking what we have learnt and applying ourselves to changing the outcome. It’s about us keeping the objective in mind (and in sight). It’s about us believing in ourselves and our dreams.
Quite frankly, it’s about seeing things differently!
So going forward, instead of focusing our attention on beating ourselves up when we haven’t quite reached our goals or indeed our perception of what we need to be in order for us to ‘succeed’, lets’ turn the attention around and the focus on ‘how else can we get there’!
Never lose your dreams or your passions – they are what drive you, they are what makes you want to get up in the morning, they are what makes you want to be all that you can be!