The Art of Failure may become a crucial skill set to aid you throughout your lifetime. Every success story also has a story of failure and struggle to coincide it. Often times we see the result, the overnight success story that took a decade to unfold. Add on to this, those who fell off during the process, those who never got the opportunity despite always being ready, and you will learn about the importance of learning to deal with failure.
A man’s character can often be judged by the cards he has been dealt with and the path that he has decided to take from there on out. Interviewing fighters, coaches, and anyone who has consistently worked on a craft for any significant amount of time, I quickly learned that it was the process of failure and rebirth in their resilient character was born.
There are three circumstances in which you can expect to feel a sense of failure. Learning to use these events to your advantage will serve you great benefit throughout your journey as an athlete.
LEARNING THE ART OF FAILURE | FAILING ON THE FIRST JUMP.
The first jump is always a high risk situation [in our minds]. We are walking into unfamiliar territory, the result is unknown, but there’s a reason for why we stand on the edge, all to find out what’s beneath the surface.
The second jump can easily become twice as effective due to its familiarity, adjustments made dependent on the mistakes. Those who do not make mistakes leave with little to review, you have the benefit of information and an emotional attachment to this failure. This attachment helps you to remember that which you never want to feel again; motivation to reach new heights and to set new standards.
There are many cliche sayings to get this point across, but simply put, you have to expect sloppiness in the beginning. In athletic training you learn about what works with your body, even coaches and trainers have a learning process and a time of trial and error when building their relationship with you. Our minds work in beautiful variety and our bodies work by reacting to different stimuli. Failing with this aspect in mind, serves as nothing but forward education.
In my life, failing, in the beginning, had its repercussions. As a boxer, if you don’t invest in your education [training, studying], the repercussion is severe physical punishment. You are in the spotlight, whether you are an amateur or professional, your failures are highlighted to the masses. These are failures that you never forget, each one of them feels like rock bottom; the second circumstance in which you learn to deal with failure. . .
HITTING ROCK BOTTOM.
What is rock bottom? Often a combination of multiple failures or negative events in succession to one another.
Making the same mistake twice creates a deeper emotional reaction, becoming beneficial to ingraining a lesson in our minds. Often times we fail again as a repercussion of not dedicating enough of our time to reflecting upon the mistakes that we may have made.
[Que Personal Anecdote]
I was undefeated for my first two years fighting as an amateur, my first loss came when I hit the big show at World Resorts Casino in New York City. In retrospect, I believed that it was a fluke as I got caught going for the finish during a decisive round where I dropped and stunned my opponent multiple times.
Rock bottom. I left my job, sacrificed the health of my relationships, and made an investment by traveling to Thailand; to train under a different perspective and to fix my mistakes. Technically I may have done so, but I didn’t view the failure as a lesson to be learned. I came into the rematch more technically skilled, but not having learned about using failure to my advantage; I came in with the same limiting mindset.
The result was the same. I was TKOd in the same round as the previous fight, all after gaining landing multiple shots in a row and gaining a bit too much confidence.
I have had flashbacks of this moment in at least three fights since, where I feel the same emotions, where I am standing in the same place. But this time I don’t lose, this time I finish with my hand raised.
[Paul Banasiak has been undefeated for 15 straight bouts since this loss, earning multiple National US and World Championship Titles as a member of Team USA]
FAILURE DURING A TIME OF SUCCESS.
Failing during a time of success is a genuine trial of passion. Some have the ability of reaching this point without failing, whether this is due to educated preparation and avoiding mistakes or by having it “trumply” handed down to them, often times failure without prior trials and tribulations can drop you into a valley so low that it becomes nearly impossible to climb back out.
If you have prior experience with failure, especially if you have insight from the points made earlier, this is only a scratch in your armor. It may be a time to revamp your current plan; motivation for growth and change to avoid complacency and comfort.
A SUCCESSFUL SEND OFF.
I won’t send you off with cliche quotes, instead, I want you to view the process of training and life from an actionable perspective. Regardless of the circumstance, your ability to deal with failure will become a skill set in itself.
PAST THE ART OF FAILING. A MODELING EXAMPLE.
When I first met Jerry [Founder of PNP] and before I began to write for the academy, I instantly felt a sense of openness in conversation with him. It felt like he was always welcoming to new ideas, welcoming to trial and error without emotional attachment to the result.
This piece of information is critically important as I freely write this piece without any external influence. Examples and models can be dissected and studied not only to gain motivation through failure, but as a strategy to learn from the mistakes of others.
I later found out this "openness" all came with reason, I sat down to question Jerry midway through writing this piece to gain more specific insight on his entrepreneurial come up and growth: