It’s Not Failing
We live in a results-driven world where from a young age we’re taught about the concept of failing. Our first exams at school were judged on a pass or fail. Go for a driver’s license, you either pass or fail. At university, you pass or fail. Even in sport, you’re told you’re not good enough. I don’t want to get into a debate about the merits of such measurements of standards but my concern is it is contributing to a society where no one is ever satisfied. I definitely think setbacks, making mistakes and overcoming obstacles is paramount to growing as a person. What I’m saying is, let’s change the paradigm.
It’s OK not to be as fast as someone or as smart as someone else. It’s OK to have royally screwed up, as long as the effort was genuine and you grow from the experience. Learn to do it better next time. I think it’s especially important for kids to learn about the value of resilience, hard work and following a process. When is it OK to be satisfied in a pursuit, be it sport, business or life? When will it be enough? Mental health issues are front and centre these days and I wonder how much of it is a result of never being satisfied. My house isn’t big enough, my car isn’t nice enough, my job doesn’t pay me enough and I’m not fast enough in triathlon.
With the advent of Garmin, power meters, speed computers etc. everything is about how fast you can go on the race course. What is the first question you ask someone about their race? It’s about time. What do you do the afternoon of that race? Look at results on the internet and compare your times to others. There is nothing wrong with celebrating a great time, a personal best or going faster than what you have before as long as it is not the sole determinant of success. If that is how you measure success, you will never be happy. Just because you have not gone as fast as you want does not mean you failed. In fact, your best race may have been one of your slower ones. It might have been the one you had to dig deep to finish, where things went wrong but you never gave up.
A race is a very small portion of the journey. Most of your time is taken up with training which can be mundane and boring. You have to enjoy the process as the result it is a finite part. Learn to love the process and the steps you take to achieve a certain goal. If you do that and give everything on race day, you will always be satisfied with your efforts. If you don’t achieve a certain time, make an age group team, or qualify for Kona you haven’t failed.
As human beings we’re all flawed, we all have battles and challenges we need to overcome. Unfortunately, one of the downsides of triathlon can be a quest for perfection both during training and racing. Perfection is impossible to achieve; it should never be a goal. Leading into a major race, such as Cairns this […]