Regardless of how good you are at anything, there’s always going to be a time and a place for failure. And that’s not a bad thing - in fact, it can be spun in a pretty positive light. You just have to know how to do it.
Failure helps to remove ego from the process of exercising - it’s actually how you can stay committed to working out. It might seem a little counterintuitive, but it’s really not.
Failure and Commitment
The reason why failure can help you stay committed to working out is because it makes you better as a whole - a more well-rounded person. Protekt’s Nick Norris stands by this.
“There's always going to be a time where we fail, regardless of how good we are at any one pursuit. You can learn a lot about yourself from that. You can learn how you carry yourself in that moment where you couldn't hack it, you couldn't accomplish what you set out to do. Your ability to overcome that scenario creates a lot of resilience, and it makes you a better athlete, a better teammate, and a better friend.”
Failing in a Group
Of course, no one likes to fail. It’s not a good feeling. But even though failure will never feel like a celebration, it doesn’t have to feel like… well, failure, either. Not if you fail amongst people who support you.
“When you fail alone, it can bring you to a dark place,” says Tim Duba, co-founder of Protekt. “And there's a lot of shame, a lot of regret, there's a lot of “What could I have done different?” But when you fail with a bunch of people who want to see you improve, it's a whole different mindset. You don't even look at it as a negative, you look at it as: “Okay, this didn't work out, but what's the learning opportunity that I can take away from this?””
Big Failures = Big Successes
How to workout at home is full of little failures, just like working out in the gym. But usually, failures mean that you’re on the way to something bigger. It means that you’re not plateauing, you’re progressing.
“I've learned that almost every time I experience a catastrophic failure, it's actually been setting up a catastrophic breakthrough.”
It can be difficult to avoid being hard on yourself. But the truth of the matter is that knowing how to create a fitness plan depends on tailoring the workouts for what helps your body succeed - and to succeed, you have to fail. And when you fail, there’s no need to beat yourself up about it. It’s time to turn your ego off.
“Ego is great for creating those competitive juices. But if you fail, it's like, “Oh, man, I was so competitive and so vocal about this, and now everyone knows I didn't achieve it. But the more times you fail, the more you start to learn that success wasn't the point of the journey. The point centered around all you did to go after that goal, and the fact that you had the stones to go after something so ambitious.”
Being Honest With Yourself
What is the right way to exercise depends on doing honest assessments of yourself. That way, your failures won’t feel like life-ruining occurrences. They’ll just feel necessary, like stepping stones.
“What failure teaches you is to hold yourself accountable and do honest assessments of yourself. Ask yourself: did I put in everything I was telling people I put in, or did I take days off? Did I cut corners here and there? Did I cheat on this program? It teaches you humility through being honest with yourself and others. That's where all that embarrassment and shame comes from - when you talk a big game. Then, when you stumble, you have to go back and say, ‘Man, I didn't do everything I could have. Now I know that.’ The way we paint failure, especially in America is all-encompassing. If you fail to achieve your goal, you're a loser. But what the military teaches you is that not only are you going to fail, we're going to ensure that you fail. That's the whole point. You need to fail multiple times so that when it happens in real life, you don't fall apart at the seams.”