There is no doubt about it ever since I was born I have been a failure.
As a teenager the failures accelerated.
*pop pop pop*
You learn to distinguish between gun shots and backfire early in life.
The difference is that it was two in the morning. Instead of waking up and exiting the room I decided to freeze and do nothing. Normally, any loud gunshot noises would be attributed to my father’s gun underneath his bed but for some reason… I had a feeling. Call this spiritual, call me a hippie it doesn’t matter because he’s dead now and there is no doubt in my mind that if I had run out to simply call 911 he would be alive. Strike one and a failure at life. Life isn’t baseball so if you don’t act in the moment you don’t get any second chances.
“You are not a man until you fail at an event that is life changing”
What they don’t teach you in school or at home is that death is quick and it is over in less than an hour. The ambulance flips in, they console the members inside for a mere 10-20 minutes pretending to use the EKG machine when everyone knows the man has passed. They move on quickly and it’s over. A few days later there is a simple line in the obituary section of the local paper “so and so died due to X”.
What do you do at this point? Everyone decides to grieve… This means that the solution is to avoid grievance. Being young and stupid it was time to turn all of the pent up aggression into something actionable. The only place where it is appropriate to be aggressive and competitive this day and age? Sports.
Everyday. Up at 5:00am running sprints and… everyday the same nightmare would wake me up. I would be stuck in bed listening to the same sounds and instead of waking up to open the door a mere 8 feet away I would stay put. Frozen.
Luckily? When everyone is feeling bad for you they leave you alone, more time to train, more time to get better and more time to instill the right habits. This recurring nightmare lasted a few months but I can tell you I would train harder than anyone in a 100 mile radius.
While I will always regret not taking action when I could have… I started to realize that this may have been the best mistake I have ever made. The same father was an alcoholic, abusive and angry person. Nothing that I personally wanted to become, which makes it even more humorous that anyone would believe I am unhappy with my current life. I simply enjoy giving out the truth.
The changes that occurred over the next year were night and day. Within a mere 12 months a close family member turned to alcohol, another one barely graduated high school and the last one, myself, had a completely different set of friends by year end.
I was possessed and they were obsessed. That was the difference.
At this point high school was becoming a bit annoying. Every two weeks some kids at school would comment on their ability to pick what color shirt and pants I would be wearing (had six shirts and four pants for the record) so it wasn’t really difficult. The difference was that they would eventually see me after school, in the gym, at the track, or seconds before a game started.
The color of my shirt didn’t matter during those times.
Slowly things changed. I had over twenty shirts. None of them purchased but won from events and other accomplishments (still had the same ripped up pants though) until finally the phone rang.
“Hi, this is [division 1 university] and we’re looking to speak with X”
I had conversations with military recruits but nothing like this. Over the next 12 months I would be flown out for recruiting sessions, all of these 5:00am extra workout sessions were paying off. Eventually signed the dotted line and thought my life was set. Nothing further from the truth.
Anyone who has been a collegiate athlete knows that you are in for a world of hurt. You may have priority registration but you have multiple team workouts (3-4 hours a day is the norm). This was fine for me. Small fish in a big pond just means more room for growth.
“The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement”
I thought I trained hard before. I was dead wrong. As usual.
I was out of breath and out of my league for several months but still a top recruit from the fresh meat. Still pushing through athletically, until… it hit me. I started to realize that many guys didn’t have a career track. The seniors seemed to graduate and linger around hanging on to the good old days because they had no marketable skills for work.
For better or worse the decision would be made for me, during a freezing winter day I would suffer an injury that sidelined me for a full year. No pain no gain is an incredibly true cliche.
The downside? No way to pay for school anymore. Instead I needed to maximize my time.
I started applying for jobs and got nothing. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Applied to over 100+ positions and I did not get a single call back. Desperation time.
While I did everything I could to find work I eventually took an unpaid position at the bottom of the totem pole. I don’t mind shoveling s*** sandwiches if it needs to be done.
What did I do for income in the mean time? Lets just say it is not something anyone would be proud of but I sold enough minty wrapping paper to get by and was relatively smart in mathematics leading to a few tutoring roles. As long as I made enough to eat and sleep it was good enough for me.
“Today is when you do what others won’t so you can accomplish what they never will”
Like clock work. One of the resume drops hit. After being rejected by more companies than I have hair on my head… a bucket shop, chop shop, s*** cap, micro cap insert shady investment bank has decided to bring me in for an interview. When the lime light is on you better perform. I prepare for hours and land the opportunity.
For a broke failure of a human being… this isn’t that bad. I clock in the most hours by intern standards… by far.
Leverage. New year and even more interviews follow.
“When you’re about to give up you know it is time to push harder, you’re millimeters from your goal”
Today? I’m still a failure.
Not a day goes by when I don’t fail at something. I fail at doing maximum reps and maximum sprints (the injury is practically healed) and I continuously fail at trying to win new business. If I go a day without failing at something, I consider it a waste of a day.
“The difference between a failure and an idiot is if you learn from your mistakes”
Maybe this message is useless and you simply succeed at everything you do. You’ve never missed the game winning shot, you’ve never been turned down for a job, you’ve never had a girl give you the classic head turn, you just succeed at everything you do.
If that’s true… well I feel bad for you. It means you have never attempted to reach your potential. You can do better.
“The world would be a better place if everyone reached their potential”
I will always be a failure because I learned a hard lesson early in life. Always take action. Always maximize your potential.
The only way to do this, is to fail, fail harder and accept each failure for what it is… A learning experience.