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Failure is something that many of us, including me, have trouble dealing with and overcoming. If you’re like me, then you’re constantly trying to do things right the first time, doing things that come easy to you, and avoiding certain things that are difficult.  Regardless, failure just doesn’t apply to strength training, but everything in our lives. Think about something you became good at. Think of how many instances you stumbled or failed before you became successful at that thing. I’m sure at one point doubt or quit crept up in your mind, but you eventually succeeded because you had a greater desire, commitment, and dedication to  overcome failure.  This, perhaps, is the most significant lessons strength training has taught me that I use in all parts of my life.

I couldn’t tell you how many times I failed trying to do power cleans when I was first introduced to them. In fact, I came to hate power cleans and  eventually stopped doing them completely because I couldn’t do them. I told myself, “power cleans are stupid and I’ll do something else that’s not so hard.” I’m sure many of us encounter thoughts like these, but how often do we really fight back and persevere through them? I don’t have the answer for you, but for me anyways, I had quit and let failure defeat me.

But a second chance arose to redeem my poor effort once I really started to get into strength training. I started doing power cleans again, but this time I learned how to do them correctly–learning from that mistake through my first experience doing them–and sticking with  it until I started to have success. Just like when I first started, I failed and struggled, but came to realize that these struggles and failures are only necessary for me to grow stronger. I learned that each and every failed attempt was an opportunity for me to learn and improve.  Power cleans was once my most hated exercise, but now it has become my favorite.

Although this is just one of many struggles I’ve had to deal with in my training regimen, it may be the most impactful in my effort to grow stronger. This story is a constant reminder to me that I shouldn’t fear failure or let it overwhelm me. Instead, I should accept it and grow from it. Depending on what your goals are, failure may be something that is infrequent or a daily occurrence, but the important thing to realize is that failure is only part of the process that leads to you achieving your goals. Tell me a true success story that hasn’t dealt with countless failures before someone finally made it big. Odds are you can’t. This is because for that final break through to happen, even on the 1000th attempt, it was the other 999 that made it possible to succeed.

Although cliche, this is what strength training has taught me. For every failure it is an opportunity to grow stronger and  improve. It is a necessary occurrence for personal success and development and it will never happen without it.

Leave a comment below and tell me about some of your experiences with failure and how it helped lead you to personal success.

(Learn how to grow stronger Elliott Hulse)

(Check out Benny Hua’s blog: Young at Heart–everything from life to fitness!)

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