How do you feel when you make a mistake? What is your attitude when faced with a serious challenge? How do you react when your kids make mistakes? Have you experienced true financial loss at a level where you don’t know where or if you will get the money for that next mortgage payment or even that next meal? Have you gone through a divorce and lost your family and fortune at the same time? Or worse yet, have you experienced the loss of a loved one due to an unforeseen illness or accident? I learned one of the most important life lessons regarding mistakes, challenges and loss. My hope is that this piece will save you some of the time and pain I went through to learn a simple life changing lesson.
Life is both incredibly hard and wonderful at the same time. I have been through some hard times myself. For one, I lost my mother unexpectedly when I was 15 years old. In the blink of an eye she died and my support system, the person guiding me through life, the most important person in my life was gone. While the next few years were very hard, I look back now and realize how that event really helped me live the amazing life I live today with my son. My relationships with loved ones are so strong and incredible; I appreciate every minute of every day no matter what I am doing, and much more. I now live an amazing and fortunate life because of that unfortunate event when I was 15. Unfortunate, you see, goes hand in hand with fortunate.
Trust me, when I lost my mother I made every mistake you could make for years. It was not fun at the time but wow did I learn some great life lessons and how to live a great life because of it. While I would give anything to have my mother back, I am truly grateful for the positives that came as a result of that major bump in the road of my life. My father wasn’t around much after that event so I lived with my grandmother who mainly spoke German (and I didn’t) so I was basically on my own from that unfortunate day when I was 15. I learned how to live life through trial and error and, trust me, I made so many mistakes. Through sports I learned that hard and smart work leads to success, and that felt good so I simply worked harder and smarter. Over time, I realized that challenges in life are guaranteed, being defeated is optional. Over a little more time I decided that being defeated was not an option for me.
Sports offers some great life lessons. When I was very young, I would watch other players in practice and admire the ones who never fell down. As a kid, no one wants to fall down or make a mistake in practice. However, very soon I realized that the kids that fell down and made mistakes often ended up being the best players at the end of the season. I always worked hard in practice but began to understand that the only way I would fall down is to work harder and take myself OUT of my comfort zone, which means out of my normal thought process. That set off a chain of events that helped shape everything in my life and always will. In sports, if I focus on the other team as the opponent, the best I will ever be is a little better than they are. If I focus on myself as the opponent, I will never stop growing and improving. Instead of being scared to fail, I now understood that success is IMPOSSIBLE without failure. Furthermore, the key is to fall down in life and smile with a positive attitude.
Many things in life are difficult if not impossible to control, but you can always control your attitude toward things. I coach little kids and take the same approach with them. If they are not falling down during practice and, most importantly, not making mistakes, I make them do the drills again. The reward comes in the games when they achieve success from the actions they practiced. We won the presidents cup because they stopped competing against the other teams and realized the only competition was themselves. A positive attitude recognizes that failure is really a learning experience, a key lesson or test that will help you succeed toward your goal. Don’t dwell on your mistakes, instead, use them as stepping stones to rise above.
Did you know…
- His fiancé died and he lost 8 elections in a row: Lincoln
- He was broke and used social security money to start his business: Colonel Sanders
- He was cut from his high school basketball team: Michael Jordan
- He was fired from his newspaper job because he was not creative enough: Walt Disney
Most people are afraid of failure in any part of life, especially things like trading and personal relationships. This is because we all grow up conditioned to NOT make mistakes. This is SO wrong. In school, sports and everywhere else during the development years perfection is always expected, which really suppresses growth as few will dare to move beyond their comfort zone due to a fear of failure.
Life Lessons on Failure
- Understand that failure does not happen TO YOU, it happens FOR YOU.
- Failure is a gift that offers the opportunity to grow. When you shift your mind and think this way you will smile with each failure, knowing that you have just identified a flaw that needs to be corrected, removed or improved.
- Adversity is scary in the moment but it is always when we grow the most.
- Failure is only permanent when you allow it to be. Remember how wonderful adversity and failure really are.
- When you live by a set of core values and unshakable convictions you become stronger and less fearful.
- See, life’s journey for what it is, an exciting marathon for which you control the rule book and road map.
- Never forget, to become a butterfly you must want to fly so badly that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.
- Growth and change always go hand in hand with failure and fear.
- If you approach failure and challenges with a positive attitude you will see how quickly you can use failure to achieve unthinkable success in every part of your life.
- At times when things in life seem like they are falling apart, they may actually be falling into place. The key is to let this beautiful process happen with a smile.
So, if you ever find yourself in the middle of a bumpy road in life, stay encouraged. You will make it to the peak if you realize that the valley is NOT your permanent address.
Lastly, if you have faced a major challenge in life and it leads to something amazing, please email me and let me know. Everyone has a story, what’s yours?
Hope this was helpful.
Have a great day.
Sam Seiden – firstname.lastname@example.org