YES, FAILURE IS AN OPTION
If you’ve been an Olympic insomniac over the past week you’ll be aware that the Australian Institute of Silver (previously the Australian Institute of Sport) has been in full swing in London.
As Australians compete with the best in the world it has been gut wrenching to watch James Magnussen, Emily Seebohm and the rowers from the almost-awesome foursome express everything from chagrin to despair at having garnered a silver medal.
Holly Bleasdale’s hopes for an Olympic pole vault medal ended in bitter disappointment as nerves appeared to get the better of her. The 20-year-old UK athlete was on the verge of tears as she failed her final attempt at 4.55m, well below her best this summer of 4.71m. Photograph via mailonline.com.
These sublime athletes have been apologetic for failing to win gold but have they really failed and even if they have, is failure really such a dire thing?
Failure is an option.
Despite what motivational speakers with suspiciously fulsome hairstyles will tell you, failure is not only an option it’s a stone cold certainty.
You just can’t live without failing, and even success is built on failure. Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because he “lacked imagination”. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Henry Ford went broke five times before he got his cars on the road to success.
Every success has failure as part of the back story but the real question is, what is failure anyway?
Ultimately, failure is expectations not met.
The Dalai Lama has said that expectation is the foundation of failure but where do those expectations come from?
When he came last in the final of the 400m, Australian runner Steve Solomon beamed at his interviewer and said that he was totally happy with the result quipping, “Somebody has to come last and today it was me.” Solomon had exceeded his own expectations by making the final but if Kirani James, the winner of the event, had run last, his reaction would have been different because his expectations were different.
All of which goes to show that failure is a matter of perception, not an absolute. In fact, if you look at it honestly, failure can be a positive experience.
Failure is a gift.
Success can be fun, there’s no point denying that but failure offers something priceless that even success can’t offer; failure offers feedback.
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