There is something almost reassuring in seeing those who put in the work, who took the chance, who totally commit, succeeding, or even failing. Just this month, we have seen a rocket take a car into space, a privately owned, designed and produced rocket and car. Seen an older athlete return to the top of his sport, beating folks half his age. An entire stream of unknown athletes burst onto the world stage, taking gold in events that require the skill, daring, joy and reckless abandon of youth. Oh, and witnessed the most accomplished quarterback in football yet again lead his team to the Super Bowl. But what we also saw in these events was failure. The main rocket missed its remote recovery point, the quarterback lost the Super Bowl, and scores of Olympians melt in the heat of the moment.
“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in that gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.”
- President Theodore Roosevelt
Watching Shaun White, Chloe Kim and Red Gerard fly, to witness a private company launch a massive rocket, a test launch, complete with a privately produced car as the payload, broadcast live, oh and recover perfectly their booster rockets – all amazing moments. It was equally rewarding to see Tom Brady slow the hands of time, but lose a game. Or to see all the success of SpaceX and the Falcon Heavylift not include the perfect recovery of the main rocket. Witnessing Mikaela Shiffrin win gold in her first event, then be edged off the podium in her specialty, or Lindsay Vonn to settle for bronze in her first event. All incredible achievements, but not perfection. Yet they all, in sport or business, have encountered great success, great failure, but through it all, none have never wavered. Elon, Tom, Lindsay, Shaun, Chloe, Red and Mikaela continue pressing forward.
It takes courage to fail. It takes commitment to try. But it takes faith to try again, and again, and again until the moment of truth. Winning is great, but getting back into the game after the crash, after the loss, after the defeat or just coming up a bit short, well that is the domain of the champion
Again, it is Teddy Roosevelt who said it so much better:
“It is not the critic who counts;
not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena,
whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood;
who strives valiantly;
who errs and comes short again and again;
who knows great enthusiasms,
the great devotions;
who spends himself in a worthy cause;
who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement,
and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly
so that his place shall never be with those timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”