Whether sports or academics or work or just being a good American citizen, we eventually come to obstacles standing in the way of our goals. When these challenges appear and make our path difficult, how do we react?
Do we lower the bar to make things “easy”?
Or do we work to jump higher?
Look around at America in 2018. We are adjusting bars lower and lower when we should be working in every facet to jump higher. We’ve forgotten something very important. The value of failure. Maybe even worse, we’ve developed a systemic fear of failure.
Why in this day of age is failure still considered such a negative result? Why is the connotation with failing the equivalent of bulldozing our garbage into a big hole in the ground at the landfill and covering it up?
Does failure = forgotten?
Failure means you’re learning. Trying something hard and failing is a vital part of the development process. Everybody fails when you try to take your game to a higher level.
Everybody needs to lose every once in a while.
- First, so that you learn that you don’t like failing.
- Second, so you realize it takes work from you to overcome the hurdles in your life.
The Fail Cycle. I am a believer in it.
Challenge. Attempt. Fail. Regroup.Train. Succeed. Repeat.
Look around, though. Take a good look at our expectations, especially those on our young people. Instead of rising to our challenges, aren’t we continually lowering the bar to decrease the possibility of failure? These kids are the ones we are going to need to fix the messes we are currently piling up. Their future will require great resolve and skill to successfully navigate the hurdles of the future. Our kids need us to buck up and help them develop this resolve and skill.
Why aren’t we teaching ourselves or our kids to jump higher?
Shouldn’t we be developing the mental, physical, and emotional muscle to reach the bar instead of lowering it? I’m not saying we need to go “Bear Bryant Junction Boys” off-the-deep-end, but we do need to quit lowering expectations. We need to figure out better ways to train them to jump higher.
I was watching Alabama’s championship game with Georgia when this thought first popped into my head. What about Nick Saban’s successful program results in consistently high performance? Maybe they cheat? Maybe they have some sort of unfair advantage? I don’t know.
But I do know one thing from studying highly and consistently successful teams. It’s about organizational expectations. The most successful organizations have developed a culture based on forcing their players (and coaches) to jump higher instead of lowering bars. The “next man up” better be ready to go or the guy behind him gets his chance.
Keep your bars raised high and realistic. Establish a leveled-goal system. Work to attain a goal and then step up to the next level.