Fail better. It’s that simple.
by Terry Laughlin

Posted on September 6th, 2013

I’ve written many times that among the characteristics of those who excel in many fields is they do not fear or shrink from failure.  In fact, when they practice their discipline, they almost always plan it to include a form of difficulty or challenge that will ensure some kind of failure, or reveal a weak point, knowing that’s how to get better.

Samuel Beckett, the Irish playwright, and Stanislas Wawrinka have put it more elegantly.  Who is Stanislas Wawrinka? He’s the Swiss tennis player who has always been overshadowed by Roger Federer. But, it’s Wawrinka, not Federer, who is still alive the men’s draw at the U.S. Open, which will conclude this weekend at Flushing Meadows.  Yesterday, Wawrinka beat Andy Murray, the defending U.S. Open and Wimbledon champion, to advance to the semifinal round.

Tattooed on Wawrinka’s left forearm is a quotation from Samuel Beckett: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail Better.”

“It’s my vision of my job and my life in general,” Wawrinka said. “In tennis, if you are not Roger or Rafa or Djokovic or Andy now, you always lose. But you need to take the positive of the loss and you need to go back to work. It’s that simple.

4 Responses to “Fail better. It’s that simple.”

  1. […] This is about swimming and tennis, but I think it can applied to anything you try to learn: Fail better. It's that simple. __________________ […]

  2. […] a recent blog by TI founder Terry Laughlin about ‘failing better’ – actively seeking  to create situations which may result […]

  3. Great read Terry – and I don’t hear it often enough. I like Michael Jordan’s quote too:

    “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

  4. Hemant says:

    I don’t know whether this is the right place to post this query. I created my user profile so as to start a new thread in the forum area, but it did not allow me. Anyhow!

    I recently bought the DVD, ‘Total Immersion Self-Coached Workshop: Perpetual Motion Freestyle in 10 Lessons – by Terry Laughlin’.
    I viewed 4 or so lessons. I find that it is expected that one has to do these drills in a shallow pool of at least 20 metres length. But the pool that I access is 11 metres wide by 22 metres long with a shallow end and a deep end. Though I know breast stroke, I want to learn freestyle using this DVD, is there any way I can do these drills in my pool?

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