Failure Need Not Be Fatal

We recently had Shaka Smart       ajrayno_1364432311_ajrayno_1364429901_ajrayno_1364429643_Shaka    come and speak to our Groups and Teams class.  He said a lot of things that resonated with me but one thing, in particular, really struck me.  As he responded to a question about a play which took place during the last game of the season, he explained that one player’s isolated actions might have looked quite differently were one to consider the series of actions which took place just prior to the one in question, especially had things happened a bit differently than they had.  I found myself thinking about that young ball player whose actions had come under scrutiny and how I hoped he would just take the experience as an opportunity to learn and grow and not let one failure prove fatal to his college basketball career.  I suddenly realized; I could take a lesson myself from all of this.

It has been several weeks since I experienced a major personal failure.  I not only let myself down but my teammates, as well, which has made the experience much harder to work through.  I had a simple task in the presentation and I had prepared for it.  However, looking back at the experience, I see where I made a major miscalculation in what I anticipated from the audience and when Plan A did not work, I did not have a Plan B to fall back on.  I’m a planner and almost never do anything without a back-up plan, however some recent circumstances had left me frazzled and fatigued, feeling out of sorts.  I was not on top of things.  I am also usually quite spontaneous and can think on my feet but I literally felt drained and as I stood before the class, I suddenly felt as if I had scrambled eggs for brains. ScrambledEggs11 I grappled with what to do and with every attempt to make things better, I feel I made them worse.  It was a colossal failure on my part.

It’s taken the better part of several weeks to work through some real depression over what happened and to reflect on what I did wrong, confront it as best I can, and figure out how to do better next time.  Much like the young basketball player to whom Shaka Smart referred, I need not make this failure prove fatal but rather look at it as a learning experience and determine to do just that – learn from it!  Failure is hard but it can lead to ultimate success if put into proper perspective.   Okay, I concede: the game’s over and I lost this one.  But, there’s another game, another season; another project and/or presentation and yet another opportunity to learn and get it right.  Time to put this behind me and move on.

The playoffs begin for the over-30 basketball league Aug. 4 at the fitness center here. The championship game is scheduled to take place Aug. 10 at the fitness center gym here.

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2 Responses to Failure Need Not Be Fatal

  1. abryk says:

    I, too, really appreciated Coach Smart’s visit to class. Like you shared, it’s not just amount one action (or, as in this case, an error), but all of the actions leading up to it. Although I know I will never be able to convince you otherwise, you did not let the team down. I think our (yes, our, not your) biggest mistake, but not our fatal flaw, was in making assumptions. Scrambled eggs for brains or not, we all assumed more of a response from the class and did not get it. It was surprising and even a bit upsetting, but it is what it is…which happens to be a great learning experience! We gained firsthand experience of why Plan A’s require a Plan B and of why we must not assume anything about our audience. I remember offering to the class pretty early on the story of why I remember what ‘group think’ is – being embarrassed in front of my entire class junior year of high school – but I will always remember the concept because of it. This awkward and uncomfortable experience will make sure we never forget what went wrong so as to help us not make those mistakes again in the future.

  2. ppk says:

    There is an article which I had read for our course..I had meant to post it earlier, but slipped my mind..
    It’s by Dr.Constantine Andriopoulos, Six Paradoxes in Managing creativity: An embracing act…It describes six paradoxes in managing organizational creativity. One of the paradox is learning from the past, but seek new areas of knowledge. I feel this concept is true for everyone in every field …that would definitely be a learning opportunity then..

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