5 Ways That Failure Can Be Used to Find Success

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5 Ways That Failure Can Be Used to Find Success

Any swimmer you meet, no matter what level, has a dream. Whether that dream lies within or out of the water doesn’t matter. The reality is that these dreams almost always come at a price. This price happens to be failure. No one wants to fall short of their goals, but it has to happen to everyone at some point. What must be noted, though, is that success comes with these failures. Below are five ways swimmers can turn their failures into pathways toward success.

Motivation for the Future

Although no one would or should ever seek failure purposefully, falling short on occasion can actually help swimmers reach their goals. If you disappoint yourself several times throughout your season and use that frustration productively, your disappointments can lead to better results and make them come faster.

For example, if you get touched out by another swimmer or maybe a rival, and your team ends up narrowly losing to that team, you might train with more intensity from that point onward to avoid feeling the weight of that loss again. Alternatively, you might make changes to your training routine, various aspects of technique, or even eating habits. Despite these shortcomings, you can become a more motivated person as a result, both in and out of the pool.

Do Not Expect Perfection

When a swimmer decides what they want to achieve in a set, a competition, season, etc., they probably have a high degree of dedication toward achieving it. It’s easy to think that if you put in “the work,” surely the outcome will be favorable. Unfortunately, not all goals are going to be met. If several swimmers in a given conference want to be conference champions in the 200 backstroke, obviously only one of them will be successful.

Coming up short is a harsh reality when it comes to athletics. Sometimes goals are simply too lofty, and other times we just can’t quite get it together for whatever reason. As hard as it can be to fail at something you wanted so badly and worked so hard to attain, impactful lessons can be learned. Reaching rock bottom can be a good experience for swimmers for future experiences and can even be used to help younger swimmers get through their shortcomings.

Find the Positives in Your Negatives

When it comes to facing adversity, there is a wide range of results that can come from it. It’s easy to get down on yourself when things don’t go the way you expected in the water, but making excuses or putting yourself under a great deal of pressure only leads you nowhere. 

Whether it’s an injury, a race day choke, a missed wall, or anything else, the best thing a swimmer can do is to transform failures into something positive. Listen to whatever it is the failure is telling you and go forward with a new perspective that will help you become a better swimmer.

Course Correction is Key

Working hard in the pool doesn’t necessarily mean putting in work with persistence alone. Having a routine as a swimmer that will provide you with optimal results is critical, but the hard part is figuring out what that routine is. If you do things in a persistent manner but can’t quite seem to provide what you want to your team or yourself, you need to figure out what you can do differently.

While coming back from failures and trying again is important, it’s critical to learn those lessons, capitalizing on what worked and making changes when necessary. As easy as it can be to move on quickly from failures due to the disappointment they can bring, moving on too quickly can typically lead to repeats of these mistakes.

Resilience Leads to Future Success

If you think about it, the top swimmers who achieved the most desired levels of success in swimming have experienced many failures along the way. With so many competitions and such heavy expectations, these failures can hit them even harder. 

The way these top notch swimmers are able to carry on and be successful regardless of their failures, however, is by valuing failure as a tool. It can be easy to view such shortcomings as crushing blows to your swimming career and to move on, but top athletes think differently. As with many endeavors in life, resilience is key in swimming.

The more you fail at something, the more opportunities you have to become better. If you take advantage of these chances, you can fear failure less and actually seek it out more as the emotional weight lessens. Figuring out more ways to improve is critical in athletic development, as is being able to realize that short term failures do not ruin potential for long term success.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

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