Failure is crucial in human development. Whether as a coach, player, parent or another vocation, embracing failure as part of a journey towards improvement is crucial in the learning process. Reed Maltbie shares his views on the importance of understanding the role of failure in development.

What is the other side of failure?

Have you ever pondered what is on the other side? Most of us will fail. A lot. We will stumble through our entire lives like a baby learning to walk. Hopefully using each failure as finding another instance of learning. It is part of the process. It is not an outcome.

What if failure were possibly one of the crucial parts? Penecillin and light bulbs were found on the other side of failure. Championships were found there too. That may be because those who have pushed to the other side see failure differently from you and I.

We see a wall. A terminus. “Fail” to many of us is a full stop. A destination. We work until we fail. We then are faced with the choice of “starting over with alterations” or “quitting and making failure permanent”. Does it have to be this way?

What if failure were not a wall? What if failure was a passageway. It wasn’t terminal but a passage through which we are EXPECTED to push.

And On the other side of failures lies success. Waiting for us to arrive. To reach it we have to pass through failure. We have to keep moving forward.

Now when our players lose we don’t have to say “It’s okay, we will get it next time”. That intones there was some prized outcome to be had, that we missed. The outcome is, as Anson Dorrance says, the never-ending Ascension. Ever moving forward past failure. Ever ascending onward to greatness.

Failure was not the destination. It was the passageway. If this was the case, we could tell our players, “we are at the passageway and success is on the other side. Take this step with me and never look back again”.

That’s the new mindset I am choosing as a coach. To see failure as a passage and success waiting just on the other side. To keep moving forward.

I will seek those opportunities that may lead me to failure for I know success is waiting.

I will look at failure as a passage and not a wall. It is crucial to lead me to the world I seek. Just as passages are always there, so too is failure. It is not something to avoid or fear but to embrace as part of this journey we are taking.

I will look for failure in my journey, for it tells me I am on the right path. If I see it, I will run headlong into it hoping to find the other side.

Success is attainable if we continue the journey with hopeful inspiration.

Don’t stop at the entrance.  Let’s go to the other side of failure.

Photo by Shapelined on Unsplash

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