WHAT?! Why would I want you to fail?!
“Persistence is the missing component to success.”
No I’m not ruthless. No I don’t get a guilty pleasure out of the pain of others. No I don’t like to see the disappointment of others when they don’t reach their goals. No I don’t want to be better than you. In fact, I’d rather you be better than me.
See it’s through failure that we learn the most about ourselves. It is through failure that we find out what we really want. It is through pain that we find out how hard we are willing to work to accomplish our goals. Many of the greatest American success stories are people who have failed, gone bankrupt, lost everything and worked to rise again and become some of the most successful, powerful, well known people in the history of the world. We learn very little from success. We learn most everything from failure.
When we fail we are faced with two decisions. We can quit or we can take more action and keep working toward our goals. This is where we find out what we are truly made of. We find out what is important to us. There is nothing more important than failure. Without failure, the accomplishment of our goals and dreams would be worthless. If we always got what we want, what would be the point of the extra effort we put in?
As I work toward my goal of running the Colfax Marathon in 3:30 and work toward running Leadville 100 in under 25 hours I have a couple choices. I can fail every single day as I push hard, work through a tired body, read to stay motivated, deal with the soreness of daily workouts, talk out my insecurities with friends, or just make sure I’m putting myself through hell as many days a week as possible. OR I can do what is comfortable, never push myself forward, depend on getting lucky, or make sure I don’t push too hard to be sure I don’t get injured.
The way I see it, I would rather fail every single day leading up to my races or I can fail on race day. I can tell you failing every day is hard. Waking up at 3am to be sure I get my training done isn’t always fun. Sleeping 4-5 hours a night has taken a lot of getting used to. Running a faster pace than I want and completely wearing out my body most days is painful. Forcing myself to eat and run (and making myself sick in the process) is getting old. But when I think about how much it will suck to miss my goals and have to live with the regret for an entire year, the daily pain seems to slide into the background of my mind. The disappointment of a bad training day slides into a regressed memory pretty quick as I refocus on my ultimate goals.
When I see people succeed after many failures, it makes me so happy. A lot of the time it isn’t even about the fact that they’ve accomplished their goal- it’s about the fact that they have become the person it takes to achieve the goal. They didn’t give up. I can relate to many people and there are a many who have traveled a different path that I can’t relate to. Whether or not I can relate to their actual journey is irrelevant. I know the overall process and daily persistence that it has taken to accomplish their goal. I know their ultimate victory is important, but they daily victories and defeats are what I’m most interested in. The hard work and persistence it what makes me the happiest.
When I get overly excited for the most minor wins, people think I’m crazy and rightfully so. Every time I “win a day” I get excited. The “win” might be the only instant gratification that I get. It takes time, a lot of time, to accomplish big goals. I look for anything that can keep me moving forward toward my goals. I need something to make sure I wake up excited about the day. The best part is when I can string a couple days of wins together. The more I win, the more excited I am about moving forward tomorrow. When I lose, I still look for the positives from the day. What did I do right? What could I have done better? What is one thing about today that if I change tomorrow, I can move forward? By moving one step at a time I can gain momentum toward my ultimate goal. By focusing on my day to day activities, I am able to break down HUGE goals into chucks and chip away at the mountain knowing that if I chip off enough today and tomorrow and the next day that I will eventually break through.
My advice to you is to go after failure today. Go big. Fail big. Use the lessons from today to make you better tomorrow and never ever give up. If you aren’t failing on a daily basis, you’re not thinking big enough. If you’re not thinking big enough, you’re not taking enough action. Without massive positive action every single day, you won’t become the person it takes to achieve your goals. I’ve seen winners lose and losers win. I’ve seen people start from the top and fall to the bottom. I’ve seen people start from the bottom and rise to the top. The difference between the people who accomplish their goals and the people that don’t is their ability to persist beyond what most people would say is reasonably possible. Be the person that stares directly at failure, gets punched in the face and starts swinging back and don’t stop swinging until you win or you out for the count.
“My victory isn’t crossing the finish line. My victory is taking the next step after I want to quit.”
Run Epic my friends.