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Why do we fail? Learn why failure can be an opportunity!

To start this off let me hit you with two scenarios.

Scenario 1: Clare has her third body diagnostic in three months of training. The first two went well; she’s been working like a Trojan in the gym and eating like a champion making sure her nutrition is on point, so is expecting her third one to be the same. It isn’t. Everything goes in the wrong direction however Clare dusts herself off and talks about where she may have gone wrong and how she can improve over the next month for the next diagnostic, and has a solid game plan sorted for the next month. 

Scenario 2: Dave has his third diagnostic the day after Clare; he has also been working his crackers off in the gym and eaten like a boss keeping his nutrition on track. Dave expects his diagnostic to say he looks like Zac Efron and that he’s Superman. It isn’t good. Dave cries into the arms of the person doing the diagnostic saying, “I couldn’t have worked any harder, all those vegetables and rabbit food I was shovelling down, all the burpees, all the sled pushes and I’m even bigger than the last time!”. They also discuss a game plan but Dave gives up and decides it’s not worth it any more.

The next month they both come in for their fourth diagnostic. Dave missed five out of the 12 sessions making bulls**t excuses and went back to eating ready meals and crisps and drinking beer. Dave’s almost back to where he started, putting a spare tyre on around his stomach, and cries into the arms of the trainer again… poor Dave.

Clare on the other hand smashed it and had her best diagnostic yet, dropping dress sizes, burning fat like melting butter in a pan and setting loads of PBs in the gym – well done, Clare!

The difference here is mindset. Clare still failed but had a positive mindset. Dave failed but had a negative mindset. Clare is an achiever and Dave is a failure… sorry, Dave.

Moral of the story, be like Clare!

Ok, on to a serious note, we all mess up and experience failure at some point in our life (if you don’t, fair play to you) but it’s how you react to this and how you interpret it that is key. Conor McGregor’s (arguably most successful MMA athlete) coach John Kavanagh has a mantra for his team, “We never lose, we either win or we learn!”

The message in that quote is clear: don’t be disheartened by your loss or failure. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and more importantly learn from it. What went wrong? Where do I need to improve? Was it within my control? What will I do next or change in order to make sure it doesn’t happen again?

Another takeaway from the wonderful story about Clare and Dave is that Dave was extremely shortsighted with his approach, whereas Clare thought more long-term. At Potential we always make yearly targets or goals because where you see yourself in a year’s time is an important thing to think about. Let me hit you with another quote from Rocky Balboa, “It ain’t about how hard you hit, it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward, how much you can take and keep moving forward, that’s how winning is done!”

Now the meaning in this is to have a long-term view on your goals because what counts in the end is not how many times we failed but how many times we got back up and carried on. Don’t think to yourself that a little setback is going to mean permanent failure; expect to face some setbacks along the way but instead focus on what went right and also how you can improve.

P.S. Just for the record, Dave changed his mindset and now looks like Zac Efron and gets all the girls.

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