Celebrating Failure

Much of my life seems to be about from failure to failure, punctuated with a few periods of less obvious failures that most people see as success. It is kind of a harsh view, but I am a tough critic of myself.The simple fact is that I fail a lot. With a little luck, a lot of practice, and when I can muscle up the courage, a lot of self-honesty, I find opportunities to learn in failure.

Today was one of those on the golf course. Of course, it doesn’t really matter in the big scheme of things, but I tend to assume anything I learn has potential value.

This weekend is men’s club tournament between our club in Powhatan and one of the clubs in Montpelier. It is two-man best-ball match play event, one day each course. Today, I failed to break a 100 due to an occasional inability to get off the tee or general sloppiness. The key was that I did not let it get to me and I just focused on not doing stupid stuff to a better degree than my competitors (as we were pretty evenly matched). This strategy worked well as we were able to win our round.

More importantly, I was able to learn a bit more about my swing and solving problems on the course. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow if I have learned enough.

And this is the way I do things. Sometimes I fail on purpose to see what I can learn. (Of course, one might read this as “I sometimes purposefully do stupid stuff to see what happens and see if I can get out of trouble.”)  In other words I am more interested in learning and enhancing my problem-solving skills than facts and such. That’s not to be dismissive of facts – I use and quote such all the time to the annoyance of people around me.

I like problem-solving.So, generally once I can get out of the moment of unhappiness about failure, I can celebrate it and take a learning from it. Now, some may just say, “Who, your real goal was to win, not a break 100, your score doesn’t matter.” True, really just half-true as my goal is to always shoot as low as I can, consistent with my handicap index or lower. In fact, one of our competitors challenged me on my handicap. Not surprising, I have beautiful swing and adequate distance to be a much better player, I am just wildly inconsistent.

Wildly inconsistent.

(You may have noticed such inconsistency on this blog.)