|I love this!|
I suggest you read the article first but here are some more thoughts on how to handle and approach failure:
- Unexpected failure - when a performance isn't as good as you'd hoped for. The big question is, why? The second big question is, what can I do differently next time? Example: a dodgy dressage test; because I didn't focus enough in the first half and was a bit tense throughout; keep a sharper mental focus and use the warm-up to build confidence.
Jumping the other day and finally remembering to look around the curve to the next fence...
- Anticipated failure - when you perform at a level that you know is a stretch for you. Of course, for this one you really need to sort your definition of 'failure'. In my view, coming 6th in a contest in which you are unlikely to come any higher is a success - you learn to up your game, to hold your head up, to allow others to be better than you, and to push yourself further than normal. The fact that five people beat you doesn't mean you've failed, just that you were successful without winning (a concept which is alien to many of us, I know!). In this way, anticipated 'failure' isn't really a failure at all; it is only the anticipation of being beaten.
The Who - never had a UK #1!
- Anticipated success - this feels like a weird term given that I've already stated that being beaten in a class of people better than you ('anticipated failure') is actually a form of success. However, there's also an argument for going into competitions that you expect to do well in, and to see this as a form of handling failure. We enter things we think we can win because we think we will win. This is sensible, because it's always nice to win and it's all good experience. However, it can become very toxic to your development if you only enter competitions in this way. It's easy to enter something you think you'll be good at. It's easy to be pleased with yourself when it's all gone well. The problem is that continually going for anticipated success means that you stagnate; your progress just stalls. There is nothing wrong with entering competitions which you feel you should do well in - but this should be supplemented by entering competitions that are tougher. With a balance of the two, much can be learned; with only 'anticipated success', you will learn little.
A bit more dramatic and a lot less elegant than it was meant to be!
- Unexpected success - probably the sweetest of all! However, whilst resting on your laurels is a comfortable place to be, it's also important to think about why something went well - just as you would consider why something went badly. Did you just have a lucky day? Did you do anything differently in your preparation? How did you feel during the event? Was your competition just not very good?! If you don't take advantage of unexpected success, then it's basically wasted. Results don't exist in a vaccuum. Results form the backbone of your training and your profile as an athlete. You need to evaluate every set of results and work from them. Failing to do this would be a grave error!
|But do enjoy the success too :)|