This article was written by Tom Daly aka MuscleTalk Member geneticallyjacked & was originally published in The MuscleTalker June 2011 edition
Failure is a word which has been vilified in contemporary society. A little two syllable word which inspires dread in the heart of even the most powerful men. Everybody encounters setbacks in their lives; it's inevitable, yet it can greatly reduce self confidence. This does not need to be the case: a perceived failure can be the precursor to your greatest success. "There are no failures, just experiences and your reactions to them" (Tom Krause). A happily married man, most likely had to suffer through failed relationships before meeting his wife; while these failures could have been upsetting, I'd imagine many would admit they were worth it for the lessons learned. This won't apply to everyone but is worth noting, nonetheless.
I recently encountered some personal failures and it greatly affected my motivation. However, through lessons learned from training and the accompanying lifestyle, I have regained my confidence. You see, this lifestyle teaches us a different mentality to regular society members. We have learned to embrace failure, because it's how we improve. I step into the gym each day with the intention of working my muscles to failure. It makes me stronger. Why shouldn't this be the case in regular life too? It is but, in the midst of failure, it can be hard to see how this will make you stronger. Experience is a great teacher, everyone makes mistakes, but when you fail and learn from those mistakes you become a stronger person. "I didn't fail the test; I just found 100 ways to do it wrong" (Benjamin Franklin).
The main problem, however, is that we blame ourselves for our failures. This is pointless, since we have learned a lesson from failing and are therefore a different person, aware of our mistake. We need to accept this and move on without dwelling on past mistakes for any longer than is necessary to learn where we went wrong, to avoid it in future. Do me a favour, when you encounter a setback, decide how you will fix it and do it, continuing with your life as if you never failed. This will make you a happier person and also extremely successful. The phrase 'we only fail when we give up' has become a cheesy cliché at this point, but clichés are often born from truth. When we encounter a setback it can be easy to give up. If we train hard everyday and eat well, but aren't seeing the results we want, it can be difficult to maintain the required dedication and intensity. This is the time we need to redouble our efforts; we need to identify problems and solutions rather than losing motivation.
An illness or injury can be even more difficult to overcome, it feels like all your effort has been for nothing and you have lost all you have worked for. This isn't the case, training has changed you. You have the knowledge and dedication to regain what you lost, and it will take much less time than when you first built it. This is a function of neural adaption (Carroll et al 2010). Being upset about losing size, strength or definition won't bring it back, but not giving up will, and you will not only regain but improve on your best.
Success rarely follows a straight line. Some of the most successful men in history failed dismally before finally achieving success. Henry Ford's first two car manufacturing companies went bankrupt; Ray Kroc; the entrepreneur and marketing genius behind McDonald's was a failed real estate agent; Isaac Newton, noted physicist, was a failed farmer (Thoughts2Think 2007). The now multi-billionaire wrestling (sports entertainment) mogul Vince McMahon failed dismally by creating some terrible characters in the 80s and early 90s, leading to a loss of interest and financial woe, before finally admitting his mistakes and allowing the wrestlers creative control over their characters personalities. The transformation of Rocky Mavia to The Rock was a prime example of this as well as 'Ringmaster' Steve Austin to Stone Cold (Foley 2000).
All of these people went onto amazing success, the second thing they have in common is that they refused to give up. They identified the reasons for their failures and learned from them. The only conclusion: failure can be good, as long as you refuse to quit. That is a lesson which is clear in life. Everyone reading this has one thing in common: love of training and its accompanying lifestyle. So, when you encounter a setback, don't quit, do what this life had thought us: get under the bar and back to the table and try again.References:Carroll TJ, VS Selvanayagam, S Riek1, JG Semmler. Neural adaptations to strength training: Moving beyond transcranial magnetic stimulation and reflex studies. http://onlinelibrary.wile...-1716.2011.02271.x/pdfFoley M, 2000, Have a Nice Day: A Tale of Blood and Sweatsocks.Thoughts2Think, 2007, Great Men and Their Failures. http://sukumaran.wordpress.com/2007/03/06/great-men-and-their-failures/