We all have drives, motivations, and passions in life. We all wish to do something great and look back at our accomplishments with pride. Let me tell you a small story:
I love playing soccer. In fact, I love it so much that I call it football. In June 2010, I was introduced to the sport while watching the World Cup, which is a major international tournament held every four years. At first I hated the sport, but seeing the passion and the intensity in the World Cup made me actually pay attention to the game and respect it for the beauty it possesses. After seeing world class athletes kick around a ball and bring glory to their countries, I wanted to kick a ball too. I would stand in my driveway after watching a match and practice my (at the time) horrendously disgraceful kicking. But you see, kicking a ball in a hot driveway by yourself is no fun at all, bro. I wanted something more, I wanted to play with others. I wanted to be the king of football. As crazy as it sounds, I wanted to be the greatest to ever play the game.
I would watch videos of the greats and try to imitate them. I became obsessed with the game and even started to dream of playing for the United States Men’s National Team. One day my friend told me about a park where a bunch of grown men played. I was so overjoyed and ready to show off my “godly” skills and score obscene amounts of goals. And boy, was I wrong.
My first ever game can be best described as infuriating, embarassing, and a complete and utter nightmare. The guys were so much more experienced than I was and my lack of experience showed as they would repetitively take the ball from my feet and run past me like I was a freaking statue. This happened many many times in a row and with each time, I became more and more frustrated. I told myself I would give up and go back to playing basketball like I always had, but I never did. I played over a period of 3 years, and although I was improving slightly with each game, my flaws were still as obvious as an elephant in a closet. When I made the decision one summer to actually train and treat myself like a professional, my experiences on the field drastically changed. I started to analyze what I was doing wrong and how I could improve those mistakes. I stretched for 45 minutes a day, ran 2 miles a day, ate, drank, and slept football. I went to the park and practiced from morning to sundown.
I’m much different today than I was when I first started this journey in 2010. I have enough “sick skillz” to play on an organized team, and actually help my team to win games. I play twice a week at a local park and I’m constantly a deciding force between victory and defeat. Sure, I no longer aspire to play professional soccer, but I’ve learned from my failures, and I’m actually having fun and reaping the benefits of my hard work. I’m even still working hard and improving to this day. Now football is a major part of my life, and it forever will be.
I told you that little story, because it’s not so different from what we all go through everyday. We all aspire to get somewhere, but each time we try, failure pushes us to the ground and kicks sand in our eyes like a playground bully. But we have to rise and continue, no matter how hard the challenge may be. In this world, we can only learn by making mistakes. Our failures mold us and help us take a step in the direction we want to go, whether we know it or not. Look at anybody who’s had success, like becoming a billionaire or getting a Master’s Degree, and I can guarantee you they’ve had boatloads of failure. But without failure, there is no progress. Without failure, there is no hope.
A baby bird will fail many times as it tries to fly like the other birds it sees throughout the day. The baby bird will surely hurt itself in the process, and even doubt itself, but the day it finally flies is well worth the struggle. The wind beneath its wings and the adrenaline of the moment fulfill its soul, and the bird can look back and be glad for its struggles, because the reward was worth the pain. When we fail, it’s only a sign of things slowly getting better. Remember that the next time you want to pack it up and quit. Keep trying. You’ll be happy you did.