Victory from Defeat

‘Tis the season to get thrown down, squeezed hard, and manhandled by somebody else. It is the season where the mind and the heart are tested to see just how far they can go. This isn’t your season for this? Well, after a two-year hiatus from the wrestling mats, it is Alec’s season.

A lot can be forgotten in two years by a nine-year-old boy. The technique, muscle-memory, and explosiveness must be retrained. His new teammates didn’t take the last two years off, and they are primed to deal out some punishment. And in Alec’s last practice, that is exactly what they did to him. Into the fire he goes where all his faculties are being tested, where all the impurities are being removed. As a parent, I am loving it. No, I am not some kind of sadist who loves to see his one and only son get abused. I am loving it because I see the fire within him burning as brightly as the fire that is testing him. He wants to succeed. He is determined to get better.

A couple of days ago, the coach gave his after-practice speech. He told the boys that the most wrestling they will do this season will be in practice. This is where they can perfect their game. It is where they can try new moves and fail. It is where they can continue trying and then succeed. I loved this message from the coach. I hope the boys take it to heart.

If you learn from defeat, you haven’t really lost.

Zig Ziglar

Learning from defeat. It is one of the best educations someone can get. It is a quality that separates the champions from the participants. Nobody wants to lose, but it is a rare individual who can take the lessons from a loss and use it to become better. Giving up might be accepted in a modern society that doesn’t want anyone to feel bad. They might even get an award for their efforts. But will it have any value in the future? Can it compare to unlocking the puzzle that holds the keys to victory?

Sport is a proving ground that can allow a person to find out how to win in life. It is a practice in resilience, courage, determination, and grit. Therefore, I love seeing Alec go into the fire. As a parent and a spectator, I can witness the evolution of a boy earning his rite of passage into manhood. What an opportunity!


Feature photo by Chris Chow on Unsplash.

Rising When You Fall

Go or No-Go

You may even call it pass or fail. I grew up in a world where failure was bad. It was embarrassing. It showed a lack of ability. Nobody wants to fail. And the stigma of failure is often so bad, that to never start at all is a valid temptation.

Why ask the girl on a date? She might say no.

Why try out for the team? You might not make it.

Why sign up for that class? It might be too hard.

In the Army, things didn’t get better. Failure often resulted in an unrelated punishment. Failing at the wrong time could result in your death or the death of your teammates. It was a go or no-go, and well, who wants to be a no-go.

Greenlights

Matthew McConaughey’s book Greenlights may have been one the more enjoyable books I have read this year. A greenlight means go. Catching all greenlights on the road makes for smooth travelling. This is a warm spring day where nothing can wrong. When you have all greenlights, life is good. As McConaughey puts it:

Catching greenlights is about skill: intent, context, consideration, endurance, anticipation, resilience, speed, and discipline. We can catch more greenlights by simply identifying where the red lights are in our life, and then change course to hit fewer of them.

Matthew McConaughey, Greenlights

Greenlights are good. But taken at face value the above passage would suggest to only look for the easy way. But that is not all that he is saying. He tells us the red and yellow lights are moments to pause, to think, and to reflect. Those lights might be green when looked upon in the rearview mirror of life.

Imagine hitting a red light on the road and thinking the game is over. You have failed to hit all greenlights. Would you stop driving? Would you give up or would wait until the light is green?

It’s a matter of how we see the challenge in front of us and how we engage with it. Persist, pivot, or concede. It’s up to us, our choice every time.

Matthew McConaughey, Greenlights

The Opportunity to Fail

That’s right. Failure is an opportunity. It is not always pleasant. At times, the failure can result in consequences unrealized and undesirable. Should that stop us? Nope. If we do the research and then the work, the failure is a chance to learn. It is a chance to evolve as an individual. Give it a try. If you fail, learn. Try again.

In starting your first business or your hundredth, there is a risk that it won’t succeed. There is a reward if it does. What many don’t realize is that the failure also contains a reward. It is called experience, which is not available to those who never try in the first place.

Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fall.

Oliver Goldsmith

Glory

Many of us seek it in some way, shape, or form. The greatest glory is getting knocked on your rear end then getting back up. Getting knocked down is okay only if you rise when you fall.


Feature photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash