Tuesday, January 08, 2008

If you don't learn from your mistakes, there is no point in making them.

I firmly believe this. If I have learned anything in my personal, professional and athletic life it is that mistakes are opportunities to reflect, improve and grow. What often happens though is that ego or self-pity gets in the way of ones ability to learn from their mistakes. As an athlete, mistakes are critical to learn from in order to make improvements.

Ego usually results in not recognizing that you have something to learn. Athletes who possess talent and work ethic with big egos usually end up not achieving their goals because they have the view that they know it all. They approach their training with an ad hoc plan, putting bits and pieces together from everywhere. They tend not to have an overarching plan which builds upon the years of development required to make improvements. This type of athlete never makes huge improvements and has many set-backs.

Self-pity results in the individual having the view that it is because of someone else that they are not achieving their goals They play the blame game. This individual is unable to see mistakes or take responsibility for their own actions. This type of athlete is full of anger and views competitors with hatred.

The combination of ego and self-pity in an athlete is dangerous. This athlete thinks they are the best, feels deserving of funding and sponsorship, and approaches competition full of hatred for their fellow competitor. The result is poor performance after poor performance followed by blame and more blame. I feel sorry for this type of athlete/individual as they become very angry at the entire world. They feel they have had it hard and that they have done it with no help.

I believe that ego and self-pity are things that an athlete can overcome. However, they need to have a strong mentor/coach to guide them toward humility. Every great athlete respects their competitors and respects the knowledge that previous great athletes and coaches bring to the table.

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