Home > Uncategorized > Permission To Fail

Permission To Fail

December 18, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

fail1“Look out, your eyes are bigger than your stomach” was a warning my Great Grandmother gave us when we ladled too much food on our plates at family meals. As a child, you move from being handed a filled plate to filling your own and some of us never do learn to gauge how much you can eat without blowing up when it comes to our favorite things!

Going a little overboard until you get the hang of it works with food and sometimes with CrossFit – how much can you do, how far can you go, what skill are you working on now that lends itself to the next progression / skill? You don’t always know until you try and fail.

Watching your fellow athletes knock out a muscle up or a pistol, you might think “hey, no problem, I can do that, too” only to find you can’t (right now). Rather than get discouraged at your ability (or lack of), this article from Again Faster is a great reminder of why continual work on having a very strong base of skills (and to keep honing those skills) as well as trying and failing is the ultimate path to achieve.

Be patient, don’t doubt yourself and know that failure leads to success.

Give a guy with four pull-ups and two dips, a set of rings, and he’ll pine for a muscle-up.  He’ll pull on those rings two or three times, confident that the next rep will be the one.  On rep five, his gaze finds the ground, and the little muscles surrounding his eyes relax.  By attempt ten, he’s defeated, and the swearing starts.

The curse of the novice is two-fold.  Along with a wanton desire for progress comes a concomitant failure to realize that advanced skills are not the province of the beginner.

Little attention is paid to such lowly matters as the air squat while the newly christened athlete seeks the clean.  The push press is left aside in favor of the split jerk, and the pull-up gives valuable practice time to the muscle-up.

This phenomenon is unavoidable in our culture of instant gratification, so there is little point in disparaging our collective lack of patience.  Without fail, we’d rather be the CEO than the mailroom clerk, and ambition should not be dampened.

Nonetheless, our ring-wielding athlete is unprepared to succeed, and he hasn’t given himself permission to fail–a surefire recipe for rage.

The first step to mastery is preparation.  The dips and the pull-ups need to be there prior to the muscle-up attempts, or the frustration will be unending.  Our athlete needs to own the basics, or advanced movement will never happen.

Even with proper preparation, the athlete must be willing to fail repeatedly, practicing the impossible until it is no longer so.  This journey, a seemingly endless parade of incompetence, is hard on the psyche.  At every moment, it’s easier to quit than continue.

The ensuing struggle between ego and reality is won by the ego more often than not, and practice ceases in favor of easier tasks and quicker victories.  This keeps experience within narrow bounds, impeding athletic progress for the sake of transient happiness.

Recognize that competence lies on the other side of slogging failure.  Make your preparations, and assault your target, never forgetting that victory is the end state of persistence.  You’ll find that the curse of the novice is no longer yours, as you’ve recognized that success comes only by embracing failure at every stage of the game.

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: