Learning from Failure

As I auto–posted yesterday, Craig and I went to run the Tough Mudder in the outback of West Virginia, land of the Worst Cell Service in History.

Craig succeeded and overcame the obstacles, and did a great job. He trained hard and deserves all of the praise that goes with running the race successfully. I saw the course and it is no joke. No joke at all. The First Aid tent, by the end of the day, looked like a M*A*S*H unit. Craig did a fantastic job.

Sadly, I did not complete the course. Fairly early on, I did something to my right arm and took myself out of it. It still hurts like a son of a gun, I’m wrapped up and alternating between a sling and trying to move it around so that it doesn’t stiffen up and get worse. As I’m dominantly right–handed, though, my handwriting is impacted and typing actually sucks (work should be fun tomorrow!).


No. No. Be of good cheer. If science teaches us anything, it teaches us to accept our failures, as well as our successes, with quiet dignity and grace.

… I don’t want to live! I do not want to live!

Young Frankenstein (1974)

My left arm feels great, body feels great and I’d be willing to jump right back into it. I am, however, bitterly disappointed with myself. I am disappointed I got hurt, I am disappointed I didn’t keep pushing on regardless of the pain and I am not used to stopping a test like that.

I’ve run a marathon. I’ve never once failed a belt test. I got hit so hard sparring one time I thought my nose was broken and I kept going. I’ve withstood a lot of punishment.

But I suppose that I knew in that moment, from experiencing a cavalcade of injuries in the past, what my body was trying to tell me. That is the hardest lesson I’ve had.

I wasn’t prepared well enough, and that is why I got injured. That is all my fault. I have to accept that I failed, the injury is my fault and learn from this.

And that is very, very difficult. I know I made the right choice. To have kept going would have risked a longer—lasting injury and I have plenty of those to remember already. Better to swallow pride, recuperate and come back later. But I hate failing. I really, really hate it. This is a bitter taste that will be erased.

The one positive is that I brought the lesson home to my kids that it’s OK to fail so long as you tried. Learning from failure is just as valuable as enjoying success. I wish I could have stuck it out, but knowing your limits is also important.

And I will be trying again. And I will not fail again.


10 thoughts on “Learning from Failure

  1. You made the right decision to stop and not push yourself where you could have sustained a greater injury. I know you are disappointed but I’m very proud of you. You will do it again and like the marathon, you will properly train so you can enjoy the accomplishment. “A man’s greatest glory doesn’t consist in never falling, but in rising every time he falls.”

  2. no shame in knowing your limitations my frienemy. my first thought when you first announced an injury was your bad knee. we’re getting old, you and i may either share the injury gene or we just pushed our bodies too far too many times early in life. either way, i have no doubt you did the smart thing. i understand the feeling, it’s especially tough with everything that surrounds ‘quitting’ and the whole toughness thing so it’s extra humbling. but maybe humbling isn’t such a bad thing.

    enough sympathy! back to our mental chess match, holmes!

  3. I can assure you, you made the right decision. There is no need to risk permanent injury because the Boy Wonder has dumb ideas.(i Have a lot of them). You have to know your limitations Master Wayne. And as Batman grows up, you became aware of your surroundings. It was smart to not push the boundary something that did not need to be pushed. No one wants a broken Bat; Gotham still needs you. Kudos to you for living to fight another day.

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