Failure Is Part of All Great Achievement
Another of the great secrets that we often overlook is that failure is a part of all great achievement and discovery.
We live in a culture obsessed with success, and as a result we unconsciously foster the attitude that it is not okay to fail. We often measure a person’s value by his or her success. Of course, this judgment turns on us when we fail, and we tend to take it personally. If you fail, you aren’t a failure.
I think baseball teaches us more about failure than any other sport does. A great hitter has a batting average of perhaps 350. What does that tell us? It tells us that he succeeds in hitting the ball only thirty-five percent of the time. What else does it tell us? It tells us that he fails sixty-five percent of the time.
Francis T. Vincent Jr., while commissioner of baseball, made these observations in a speech at Fairfield University:
Baseball teaches us, or has taught most of us, how to deal with failure. We learn at a very young age that failure is the norm in baseball and, precisely because we have failed, we hold in high regard those who fail less often—those who hit safely in one out of three chances and become star players. I also find it fascinating that baseball, alone in sport, considers errors to be a part of the game, part of its rigorous truth.
We must never allow our spirit to be stifled by failure. Failure is a part of progress, not a final outcome.
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