Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The sweet smell of Failure

My lack of physical activity in the past week has left me thinking about a couple of things. When I wrote the Boston Marathon race re-cap, I failed to include something very important that happened to me. As I have mentioned before, my goal time for the race was 2:55:00. I was successfully hitting every mile split until I reached mile 23--then everything went downhill (no pun intended).

As I was running downhill at mile 23, I suddenly stumbled upon a railroad track which caused me to trip. I abruptly fell to the ground and suffered an injury to my left knee which inevitably ruined altered my finish time. I limped in agony to the finish line with an end time of 2:59:18. Four minutes shy of what I WANTED! I was PISSED OFF! There is no better word to describe my sentiments when I finished that race. I was upset because I wanted that 2:55:00 so badly and I had trained endless hours for it. I dwelled in self-pity for about an hour trying to make sense of that freak accident. Why me? Why me? Nothing made sense to me.



Well, a week passed by and here I am, sitting in front of this computer dumping into words the thoughts and the possible answers as to why the freak accident occurred. I've never been a person to make excuses, on the contrary, I always blame myself for the mistakes that happen in my life. Unfortunately, in a conventional society these mistakes are seen as unforgivable failures thereby making a person unfit for success. Blah, blah, blah!!

I'm here to tell you why Failure smells so sweet. I learned an important lesson at Boston: Failure is the gateway to success. I considered myself a failure because I didn't finish in the time that I hoped for, but what truly happened was that I was paving the way for a successful future. To achieve your personal best you must welcome failure. You can't dwell on the present mistake but rather you must look at the bigger picture. You must embrace failure if you want to succeed. Besides, if you always win you will never know if you're putting forth the most amount of effort.

If there's one thing I can attest to is that the sweetest victories have been the most difficult to achieve. It's the one that forces you to give it your all and fight until you have no more. Surely it may seem very difficult while you're doing it, but the reward at the end is everlasting. I believe that failure and defeat teach us many lessons. Failure leads to determination. Failure leads to perseverance. Failure teaches you how to do it better next time.

I think that in order to accept failures one must possess the "No Fear" attitude. So what if you don't get the first time? There will always be a next time. Besides, the journey to success is the best part of the equation. Thomas Edison said it best:




Be positive. Have no fears. Embrace failure. Love success. Be happy.
 
 
What's been the most important thing you have learned from a failure?





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10 comments:

  1. Failure is yet a stepping stone to success.

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  2. Wow! This is exactly what I needed to read today! I'm running Eugene Marathon on Sunday which was originally supposed to be a BQ attempt for me, but due to an injury I've had to adjust my time goal. I started to feel like a failure before I even ran the race! But, like you said "failure is the gateway to success" Thank you so much or this great post! And even though you weren't able to finish in the time you had hoped for, your race is a huge inspiration to me :) You picked yourself up and still finished with an amazing time!

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    1. Thank you! Don't worry, I have to remind myself of this every now and then (LOL). =)

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  3. You hit the nail on the head with this one Erika:-)We all fail in life-who's perfect right? But what I believe speaks to who a person is, and what separates "the men from the boys" so to speak, is how we adjust after failure. My oldest plays basketball and we constantly tell him it's not the missed shots that are a problem, its the ones that are never attempted for fear of failing! Truly I have never realized the importance of learning to appreciate the failures in life as I do now since starting running. There is this speech by Theodore Roosevelt that my family loves- "Man in the Arena"...at the end its says (and Im paraphrasing)and if I do fail, Id much rather fail giving it my all, so that Im not like those who NEVER know victory or defeat... Ok I'm done now LOL thanks for this post chica:-)

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    1. Thanks Joslyn! I'm going to look up that speech! =0)

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  4. Great post, couldn't be more true. We cant appreciate our success until we know what failure feels like.

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