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I find it interesting how popular failure has become. Experts are writing books about how important failure is. There are blog post and comments galore. Hate to say I told so, but I discovered how important failure was over fifty years ago. I was a thirteen-year-old ninth grader and I failed miserably in school. A grade of C was a good grade, heck I could not even take PE maybe my only chance to get above a C because of Osgood Slaughters disease in my knees. Many people wanted to define me as a failure but thank God my parents did not, nor did I. My failure in Math and English drove me. I needed to figure out a way. I persisted, sure there where times when I gave up and threw my algebra book against the wall in frustration, but then I picked it up and went back at it. The same was true in sports; I was essentially a year too young for my grade in school. I was runt and then I grew, eight inches in ten months. What a mess. No idea where my hand was in relation to my face, my feet to my hips, but I was determined. I had an older brother who was a great athlete; I was determined to follow in his footsteps. I got better as an athlete; I did it on persistence, grit and determination not talent or ability whatever they are. I realize now fifty plus years latter that the failure fueled me, they drove me on, they made me more determined than ever to achieve. I guess I never thought of them as failure, I certainly did not think they were learning opportunities as I teach to my athletes now. I learned from them though, somehow I got past them and earned a college degree, a masters degree from Stanford (A school whose name I could not spell in ninth grade), played college football and competed in decathlon as a post collegian. I continue my work toward an advanced degree in the school of life. I continue to make mistakes, to take chances to stumble and fall forward. At age sixty-six I may not be smarter but I am significantly wiser. I think I know what I don’t now and work everyday to close the gap between what I do know for sure and what I don’t know (Huge chasm). That is what gets me out of bed in the morning; it drives me to be better. So failure is an option, but failure is not final, it represents an opportunity. Take advantage of the opportunities failure presents – go for it!

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