Failure Is Not The Opposite Of Success, It Is Part Of It

Such a strong statement.  And there are so many ways to say it! What abt “Failure doesn’t DEFINE you, it REFINES you!”


One of the 1st books I ever read “as an adult” ;), was “Bounce…The Science Of Success” by Matthew Syed.  It was in that book however, before SM was invented & memes were shared everywhere, that I learned what essentially, a Growth Mindset was.


There were really cool examples in that book – the Olympic figure skater who falls thousands of times in practice & uses those falls as “feedback mechanisms” for how to nail the landings…the NBA player who misses thousands of shots & learns from those misses, how to refine his form, to make a better % of shots in the future. Yeah, some of these are cliche, but here’s a specific one Syed shared that really impacted me:


The great, long-tenured Michigan State basketball coach, Tom Izzo, held a walk on try out each yr. He’d add to the team a 7-footer, not necessarily a great bball player but someone w drive/passion. When Izzo would then practice offense w his starting 5, he’d make them play against – not just the back-up 5, but that 5 + the walk-on 7-footer who was planted in the middle of the defense, right arnd the rim.


Let me repeat that: Izzo made his top 5 practice against 6 players on defensive, one the size of a tree & camped out by the hoop. Why did he do that? Bc in basketball you NEVER have to play 5 on 6.  It’s not like hockey w extra men on the ice. Izzo wanted to make sure his starting 5 learned to play against HARDER D’s than they’d ever have to face in a game. 


Said another way – Izzo created an environment where his best players failed MORE in practice, than they would have, if they were playing against traditional defenses. Why did/does that work, given all the success he’s had? Bc he understands what failure & going through hard times teaches us. He understands that even though their % of buckets in practice will be lower, they will learn from that failure, how to play against “harder than normal” competition, & ultimately SUCCEED more, bc of the tougher D they practice against.
Embrace failure…it makes us better!

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