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Beating the Odds

Failing Your Way to the Top

Movie titan James Cameron said, “If you set your goals ridiculously high and it’s a failure, you will fail above everyone else’s success.”

He was only half right. There’s more to success than setting high goals. There’s also making mistakes as you pursue those goals.

If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not improving. You’re not even living. If you can find the strength and motivation to learn from mistakes, you can achieve peak performance more often.

In this article written by Tom Browning and posted by Gold Medal Squared volleyball, we get a distinction between errors, mistakes and failures.

“Consider a hiker in the woods who arrives at several forks,” says Browning, volleyball coach at St. Mary’s College in California. “The hiker makes errors when she mindlessly chooses one way or the other, and once lost, cannot remember the way back.  The hiker makes mistakes when she carefully chooses one way or other, and when lost, retraces her steps and decisions and tries another route – thus learning the paths. The hiker fails when she runs out of gas and sits down.  The roots of the three words fail, mistake and error are, respectively:  fail – to lack, mistake – commit an offense , err – to wander.

“I don’t really care what we call these three classes of “negative” actions, but I think there is value in the distinctions. We want mistakes in order to learn. We want to fail often (as a muscle fails with fatigue) and grow stronger mentally and physically from it.  And we want virtually no errors.  No mindless wandering.”

You can bet that Cameron, whose movie “Titanic” won multiple Academy Awards and made nearly $2 billion, did some failing and made some mistakes. But there was little mindless wandering!


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