I played an intense tennis match last week. It was one of those matches where, even in the warm-up, I knew we were in trouble. Our opponents looked like they were half our age (that’s putting it nicely) and super buffed. As in, they play soccer in their spare time.
In no time at all, my partner and I lost the first set, 1-6. My partner was flustered by how hard our opponents hit (and they did send bullets at us). We both made tons of errors in our nervousness. That, and quite frankly, they were just better than us.
In the second set, we were quickly down 0-3.
But then something happened. We played very deliberately, looking for every possible weakness, and made less unforced errors. The opponents–who had seemed like brick walls of confidence–started to crumble. I could see it in the toughest player–she kept missing her first serve. Amazingly, we won the second set 6-4. And then we won the tie-break.
Which means we won the match! Even though the opponents were better players than us.
I lose in tennis a lot. Quite a lot. I’m pretty conditioned to losing, enough that it doesn’t bother me the way it bothers most players, but I always try to learn something or improve on something in a match.
That was my mindset during the match. We were not going to give up. Our opponents could make us better players. Win or lose.
Failure is a better teacher than success, if you’re willing to accept its lessons.
What about you? What valuable life lessons have you learned through failure (not around it!)?