“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
When it comes to this wild and wooly game we call life, have you ever stopped to wonder why some people “make it,” while others stumble? More mystifying, of course, is the question, “Why do less talented and seemingly less gifted people sometimes go further than those who are infinitely more gifted?”
As you know, my husband and I are huge sports fans. It never fails to amaze us when a less-athletic, less-coordinated, and less-gifted athlete outperforms one who was, seemingly, touched by God, Himself. There are some athletes who it would appear God favored with speed, agility, strength, and a multitude of strengths. So why is it that, sometimes there’s a little guy who it appears God overlooked with a better on-base percentage an stats that make the bigger guys green with envy?
Those of us who watch a lot of sports know that this sort of thing happens a lot.
Naturally, the same situation is found in every walk of life – on the field and off. I’ve had nurses who seemed to know twice as much as the doctors who held them accountable. I’ve met housewives who know more about what’s going on in the world than any 5 people you could pluck off the street. And we’ve all met people who are working for a boss and wondered, “How is it NOT the other way around?”
Do those who are steps ahead of others know more than the rest? Is the awkward little baseball player who’s batting .500 a better athlete than the mountain of a player who’s trying to get to .200?
Obviously these people have something going for them. Personally, I’ve always thought that it comes down to one thing: They work harder. If a baseball player is 5’5″ (on a proud day), weighs in at 145 and happens to be slow, he KNOWS there are bigger guys, faster guys, and stronger guys. So he works harder. Maybe, deep down – in an inward desire to prove himself – he wants it more than the big guys with little to prove.
How many times, in the NCAA or the pros, do we see teams led by these guys win it all? OFTEN! Sportscasters, and writers, prefer the term “gritty” for these overachievers, whereas I always go with “gutsy.” Whatever you call them, they are perhaps the funnest people to watch in all of sports.
Overachievers are fascinating, but how about another group that’s equally fascinating: The Overcomers (my spell-check hates this word, but by George, I like it, so it stays). How about people who are able to overcome failures and, somehow make it “work for them”?! Those who are able to “bounce back” from a particular set-back when many others “fall back?” In the guest post below, author Garret Kramer looks at 8 factors that separate those who bounce and those who fall.
One fails forward toward success. – Charles F. Kettering
8 Overlooked Factors to Overcoming Failure (in Sports, Business, Relationships, and Beyond)
By Garret Kramer, Author of Stillpower: Excellence with Ease in Sports and Life
Inevitably, people are prone to failure, upset, and disappointment. There are far more participants in sports, and in the business world, than there are champions. And not every relationship is destined for a life-long commitment. Why, then, do some people handle failure and go on to prosper, while others seem to be scarred by failure for life?
Consider the following list. Then see how these often-overlooked factors might apply to your own ups and downs, and to your personal quest for success, contentment, and long-term productivity.
- People who overcome failure do not try to control their thoughts. The human mind is designed to find clarity by naturally replacing old thought with fresh thought. Those who thwart this process by trying to look on the bright side (forcing themselves to think positively) only perpetuate their own struggles, disappointments, and confusion.
- People who overcome failure know the difference between their life and their life situations. Your life is a constant; your life situations are always in flux. One key to overcoming failure is to grasp that losing has no bearing on your level of self-worth or esteem. Understand that your life situations cannot penetrate your life and, win or lose, the perceptual field (your awareness) will remain expanded.
- People who overcome failure rarely set goals. Goal setting limits your options. If you set a goal and don’t achieve it, it makes perfect sense for disappointment to fester. Even though they might feel down in the moment, people who overcome failure recognize that any and all outcomes are an opportunity for growth, new possibilities, and future achievement.
- People who overcome failure know that their reality is created from the inside out. Your experience does not create your state of mind; your state of mind creates your experience. It’s perfectly reasonable to feel upset if you don’t win, but those who learn from the experience of losing know that their thinking, and not the loss itself, is the cause of the upset. The outcome (the loss) remains, but your thinking and your perspective is guaranteed to change.
- People who overcome failure know that external circumstances are neutral. Why is it that one moment we can be distraught about a circumstance like losing a competition, and then the next moment look at the exact same circumstance and wonder why we were so down in the first place? The reason is that outside events and situations are purely neutral. Your current state of mind creates all of your external perceptions; realize this and you can overcome anything.
- People who overcome failure use their feelings as their guide. There is nothing wrong with you if you can’t shake a disappointment. But remember, the “off” feeling in your gut is actually an intuitive sign that your thinking and perceptions are momentarily off-kilter. Those who prosper from a loss know better than to fight through a momentary lack of clarity.
- People who overcome failure distrust their thoughts when they are low. Human beings do not see life clearly when they are low. Therefore, one secret to overcoming failure is to not believe what you think when this type of mood sets in. Resilient individuals allow insights, and answers, to arrive because they know that in a low state of mind their thinking is not helpful.
- People who overcome failure employ stillpower — not willpower. What happens if you press the gas pedal when your tires are stuck in mud? Right, you go deeper into the slop. Willing yourself through (or trying to fix) an impermanent and wayward mind-set only exacerbates your troubles and set-backs. Rather, the key to conquering failure is to see that if you leave your letdowns unattended, your state of mind will clear and the answers to your lack of success will become obvious. Win or lose, every competition, relationship, or experience is leading you inward — where the gold truly rests.
© 2012 Garret Kramer, author of Stillpower: Excellence with Ease in Sports and Life
Garret Kramer, author of Stillpower: Excellence with Ease in Sports and Life, is the founder and managing partner of Inner Sports, LLC. His revolutionary approach to performance has transformed the careers of professionals athletes and coaches, Olympians, and collegiate players across a multitude of sports. Kramer’s work has been featured on WFAN, ESPN, Fox, and CTV, as well as in Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other national publications.
For more information please visit http://www.garretkramer.com, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.
A man may fall many times, but he won’t be a failure until he says that someone pushed him. – Elmer G. Letterman
For years, athletes, coaches, parents, and organizations have searched for the secrets to optimum mental performance. However, in spite of a myriad of tools and techniques, success and contentment
continue to be as elusive as ever, until now. Garret Kramer’s Stillpower: Excellence with Ease in Sports and Life offers a revolutionary explanation for this predicament and provides a basic, yet dynamic, approach for the future.
In an accessible style, Kramer reveals the innate principles behind consistent achievement and highlights the misalignment between the experiences of all performers and the strategies of the coaches, psychologists, and experts who are hoping to help them.
Stillpower uses real-life examples to explore such questions as: What is “the zone” and what must we do (or not do) to get there? Why do we need to understand the difference between insight and intellect? Is goal setting really useful? Why doesn’t willpower work? And why do the best mentors focus on a person’s state of mind and not behavior? Virtually all of us—athletes and non-athletes alike—are looking outside of ourselves, trying to unlock the keys to happiness, freedom, and excellence with ease. Stillpower encourages us to look within to finally find the answers.
See Also: Quotes About Failure