The Blessings of Failure

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Blessing is usually not a word that we would use to describe our failures or adversities. If it was up to us, we would like to achieve success with little or no opposition. Our soldiers would say that they would like to win their battles with little or no loss of lives. Unfortunately, where there is no struggle or sacrifice, there are no victories in any area.

My trainer was a former Airborne Ranger, and he taught and modeled for me real intensity and determination. A person who has been to war always remembers and honors those who have lost their lives in service. Their victories mean more because they know that it wasn’t easy, and someone had to give so someone else could get. I grew up in a military home, so I have a special appreciation for the sacrifice that these people make. From them, I have learned how to approach my own struggles. Every battle in life will have some failure. The question is: will we continue to fight through until we get our victory?

I would never be foolish enough to compare an athletic event or my training as “going to war” because that would be disrespectful to those who actually serve and risk their lives. However, I will say that the mentality I learned by being around military members has taught me how to approach my issues in the gym and life in general. I never give up. I don’t let failure stop me. I can’t afford to fail in my endeavors because fitness is how I put food on the table. I don’t train for trophies; I train because I love it and because now this is how I make my living. The shows don’t get me paid, but they do give me credibility and a platform to attract clients and opportunities.

I could tell you all my failures throughout the years and how each time I had to contemplate giving up or going forward, but I’ll give you one recent example. After a disappointing finish at the 2011 Arnold Amateur and a state show a week later, I almost said the hell with it all. Instead, I chose to go for the 2012 Arnold Amateur. Along the way, I had several hurdles that threatened to set me back. I severely pulled my I.T. band on my left quad and couldn’t squat for almost a year. I had a slight tear in my left tricep. Then, I pulled my hamstring 6 weeks out from the show. All these injuries tempted me to give up.

By the grace of God, I continued to go through and finish my prep, despite wanting to quit many times. I finished in the top 10 (9th) in an international event out of over 20 guys from all over the world. My failures taught me the necessity of strong character and discipline, and they made all the success even sweeter knowing that I could have given up but instead chose to push through.

That old saying that quitters never win and winners never quit is absolutely true. So the next time you’re facing a setback or a failure, remember that it is only a failure if you choose not to keep going.

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