"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." These words come from the legendary basketball player Michael Jordan. Michael was able to compile a resume that includes being a five-time NBA MVP, six-time NBA finals MVP, and a six-time NBA champion among other things. For those of us that love basketball we know all about the numbers for his accomplishments. However, we are not that familiar with his number of failures. One of the problems with society today is people often focus on success so much that they neglect the existence of failure. We don't realize there is no success without failure. We live in this utopia where we believe success is something that is owed to us. We think that we can do the bare minimum and achieve the life of our wildest dreams. Shame on us for thinking in this manner. The truth that we must face is that failure is a prerequisite for success.
On the pathway to success, failure can be found along the way. There is something that should resonate with us all from the MJ quote. It is not our success that really defines us; it is more so our failure. I know that is difficult to fathom because of the world we live in. We often judge people by their accomplishments and their level of success. If we were to have a conversation with someone with a lot of success, we would find they focus more on their failures. They can make the connection in their mind that their failures ultimately led to their success. With this embedded in our mind, there is no goal or task that we can’t accomplish. All of this is easier said than done. Contrary to popular belief, failure is the best thing that can happen to us. Think about the Wright Brothers, Walt Disney, or Oprah. These are people we know have had a tremendous amount of achievement. The common factor is they all failed in the process. The unique thing about failure is that it is synonymous to being disciplined by your parents as a child. You were punished, but you became a better person because of it. Failure disciplines and humbles us. It shows us that we can’t cheat the grind and we can’t quit. In the end, we become better because of it.
In the book Outwitting the Devil, author Napoleon Hill goes in detail into a conversation that he has with the devil. During the conversation, Hill works to find out who the devil is, why he does what he does, and how we can overcome him. It’s safe to say we all have our inner demons and temptations that we fight against. So, the information Hill provides is something we all need. The devil advised he survived on people known as drifters. These drifters let life take them wherever it wants. They have a lack of ambition and are weak minded. The key thing he thrived on was failure. To overcome the devil, people needed to learn they are in control of their mindset. The key thing the devil thrived on was failure. This devil can be representative of whatever struggles we go through in our lives. Failure cripples many people throughout life. The solution for us is to become enlightened to the idea that on the other side of failure, there is a breakthrough. I thought this was one of the best parts of the book. It’s something that may sound a bit cliché, but we don’t focus enough on it.
To become the person we envision ourselves becoming, we must first distinguish our “why.” This is what will help keep you motivated when adversity strikes. Your why will fuel you past your failures. For some people, their why could be family. Maybe they want to provide a better life for them or create a new narrative in their family. Whatever your is, hold on to it. After you determine your why, align yourself with a mentor. Find someone who will help keep you accountable and challenge you. Your mentor will help pour into you so that you can reap the benefits later. So, find your why, find your mentor, and finally find your support system. The three of these together form a powerful weapon that you can use for the rest of your life. Every short coming in PT school has led you here. Every failure in life brought you to this point. Now you must pass the N.P.T.E. to become a doctor of physical therapy. The end of one chapter is about to close, and it will be the beginning of a new one. I look forward to seeing all the failures you overcome to give yourself the life that you deserve.
-Karl Bourne, Lead Blog Writer