Growing up, we’ve been trained and conditioned to believe that the goal of life is to succeed. To advance to the next grade we must “pass” all our tests, our parents aspire to see us “flourish” as adults, and countless virtuosos recite the mantra: “failure is not an option”. Society trains us at a young age that failure is not something to be proud of, nor is it something that we should ever want to encounter. However, Michael Jordan says otherwise. “To learn to succeed, you must learn to fail”.
Michael Jordan, a man who has been dubbed with countless awards, possesses two Olympics gold medals, and arguably is one of the best basketball player ever, believes in failure. A man who has seen an astonishing amount of success has also seen an astounding amount of failure. “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”. What is it about failure that has such a negative connotation to it? Is it the embarrassment and the humiliation? Or maybe the frustration and mental defeat that comes with it. Obviously all these traits come with failure, but without them, there is no room to grow from the person you are today. If Walt Disney gave up on his dream after the editor of the Kansas City Star told him he lacked imagination, our childhood would have been deprived of countless experiences and there would be no infamous Disney World, nor Disney Land. Failure is a necessary toxin that we must endure. In the absence of hitting extreme lows and major highs, it’s impossible to evaluate progress and success.
Without regard, one of the biggest issues about success is that there is always somebody better. “We all fly. Once you leave the ground, you fly. Some people fly longer than others”. Honestly, this whole statement is so defeating. How can we possibly want to achieve success, knowing that ultimately, somebody is still being bigger and better than we are? One thing to remember is that it can be taken one of two ways. It can either be taken as a check in the L column or it can be used positively to create a better you. “Always turn a negative situation into a positive situation”. As an athlete, winning of course is the best: it’s thrilling and places you on a pedestal you never want to step down from. Furthermore, I don’t know many other athletes who take pride in beating the easy teams. It’s the tough, robust, power teams that people want to beat. Bigger and better teams have things that you lack. It isn’t a bad thing because of how much can be learned from them to implement into oneself, making them better.
Being okay with failure is to be perpetually dissatisfied with all you do. If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you. There are so many who are quick to surrender to the fear and anxiety that failure holds. But there are also some who embrace that pain and who are motivated by it. “[Michael Jordan has] failed over and over and over again in [his] life. And that is why [he] succeed[s]”. In conclusion, if we all want to eventually reach a point of success and be a little like Mike, clutch the failure close to you and use it as a ladder to climb even higher than anyone could think.