Fail to win. What does this mean? It could mean I attempted to win but failed in the attempt, and this is how many would perceive this phrase.
With a growth mindset we can perceive this phrase in an entirely different way;
It could mean that we can fail in order to win. Winning through failure. does this seem like an odd concept? It’s said that when Thomas Edison and his team finally succeeded in making the first viable light bulb, it was on the back of 1,000 (some say 10,000) failed attempts. Was Thomas Edison a winner or a failure?
Let me tell you a story about myself….
At the beginning of 2019, I resolved to do a bit of exercise each day. Being diabetic and overweight I’d been looking for viable, sustainable ways to help control my weight as hopefully this would help control my diabetes too. I didn’t see it as a New Year’s Resolution, it just coincided with the start of the year when instead of wondering how to get my head around it, I just started doing it. Half an hour’s walk a day was my plan. Possibly more, but minimum half an hour. I should be able to do that, right?
I used an app called Map My Walk to log my progress and about halfway through January noticed a challenge within the app called “You vs The Year” which basically consisted of walking (or running) 1019km throughout the course of the year. One thousand and nineteen kilometres. About 636 miles. Seemed ridiculous until I broke it down and realised that 1019km for the year meant averaging 84km each month, which was actually less than 3km per day! I was already averaging more than this and signed up to the challenge, noticing as I did that it took into account distance already walked since the start of the year. The challenge came complete with a leaderboard and amazingly I was already in the top 12%!
I went a bit daft and by the end of January I had logged over 200km and was now in the top 6% on the leaderboard. I decided to ease off a bit for February as I was doing around 10km most days, which was taking me over two hours, which meant after work and eating etc, I had little time for much else. Nevertheless, as I got to the end of February I’d chalked up another 200km and March came and went the same way. Over 600km! At this rate I’d have the challenge in the bag by the end of May. I’d been pretty consistent only having missed about three days due to illness as I moved into April and all was going well.
Then, one Thursday in the second half of April, I had a day off. No reason, particularly, just didn’t feel like it. By this time I was over 700km. One day won’t matter, I thought. But then I didn’t go the next day either. Or all weekend. Or the following week. And that was pretty much it. I was out of the habit and I stopped. I did a few more walks through the rest of the year but never got back into the same groove and finished the year having logged only 822km. About 513 miles.
There’s two ways to look at this. Firstly, most obviously, I failed the challenge. The target was 1019km and I only got to 822km. I was rubbish.
But then looking at it a different way, the previous year in 2018, I probably walked about a total of 50km, so 2019 was over 770km more! A massive (massive for me, anyway) 822km in the course of a year!
So I didn’t get to the 1019 but 822 is a flippin’ long way and way (WAY) further than I got the previous year. I think all in all, that counts as a win.
I’m sure it’s been said by people far wiser than I, but better to aim high and miss by a little, than aim low and hit dead centre.
Last month, I signed into the “You vs The Year” challenge for this year: 1020km. I’m not going to go mad (not planning any 200km months) but I’m already up to 140km. Maybe I’ll make the 1020, maybe I won’t. But either way I’ve probably already done more than I’d do if I didn’t try at all which, as far as I’m concerned, makes me a winner.