Success vs Failure - by coach Paul Duncan

After a weekend with lots of racing. I get the joy of talking to many people about how their race went. Very few of those people ever seem to be happy with their result. What I tend to hear is a lot of people making excuse after excuse about why they didn't get to achieve their desired result. We are so wrapped up into finishing times, and overall placement that we tend to perceive every race as a failure unless it went 100% perfect, which it never does. 

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So, you had a shitty race, you didn't get that PR, you didn't get on that podium. Well, awesome, congratulations. 

Ok, before you say, "what the hell is this guy talking about?". I want to tell you guys, that I have spent my whole life being totally afraid of failure. I still struggle with this daily, just like the majority of the people reading this post probably do too. 

I am slowly starting to learn, that failure can be one of our greatest tools to becoming a better athlete, friend, spouse, person, etc... The key here is that you have to shut up long enough and listen to the lesson. 

Success is great! However too much success coming too easily can breed a big ego, pridefulness, and greediness. Not allowing the brain to grow, or for you to grow as a person. Failure, on the other had creates an opportunity for self reflection and humility. Very hard to have a big ego when you aren't "winning". Failure can teach us so many things about who we are as people but like I said, only if we are silent enough to listen to the lesson. 

When you fail at something, do you get angry? Resentful? Why? That anger and resentment is only blocking the opportunity to learn a lesson. Think of a failure as a new possibility in life that you didn't expect to happen. In triathlon, you can not "expect" everything to just go your way, all you can do is put 100% into what you are doing in that moment. You have to let everything else go. Sometimes you'll win, sometimes you'll just learn. Sometimes you'll get both. 

Think of every successful athlete you know right now at all levels. Do you think that person has had nothing but success, or do you think that athlete has had failures along the way? The most successful people in life have also failed the most. One common theme with successful athletes and successful people in general, is that all are willing to make sacrifice to reach their goals. Sacrifice equals giving 100% with no guarantee of desired outcome. 

I see so many talented people in all fields that are not willing to do what it takes to get to the next level simply because they are afraid of what might happen, afraid to fail. Why are we so afraid of failure? 

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Next time you have a perceived failure. Embrace it and take it as an opportunity to reflect and use it as a tool for learning. It's all part of the journey. If you aren't willing to take some failures before you reach your desired goals, you are in the wrong sport. 

Thanks for reading
Paul Duncan