You Will Fail

You will fail.

“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” — Samuel Beckett


Modern life does not condone failure. To the contrary, society reinforces that it is something to be avoided. If you’re like me, a begrudging member of the Millennial generation, you’ll remember scoreless T-ball games, seasons that ended with trophies for all, papers graded in pencil instead of red pen, and the elimination of dodgeball.

Our coaches, caregivers and teachers had good intentions. They wanted to insulate us from pain. But like a child who never got chicken pox, we were faced with the agony of full-blown shingles when the economy collapsed, jobs were scarce, and we learned that we would not, in fact, be the next president of the United States.

Jiu Jitsu doesn’t insulate its practitioners from failure. It is simulated combat. There are clear winners and losers. The loser is the guy who would have had his arm broken, had this not been a simulation.The winner is the girl who has that guy’s arm hyper extended.

You will fail at Jiu Jitsu. You will fail spectacularly and in ways that you never imagined. You will be tapping like the telegraph operator aboard the Titanic sending out its last SOS call as someone half your size sinks a loop choke tight against your throat. The beauty of the Gentle Art is that it allows you to fail quickly and safely in a controlled environment. Failure is actually encouraged. Look at it this way: Every failure on the mats brings you closer to where you want to be from a self-actualization standpoint and more important, better positions you to save your own life in a self-defense scenario. No failure means no progress, and that could mean death.

Embrace failure. It will be your best friend and teacher.

Joe Hannan is a journalist and writer. You can find more of his work here.

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