Zookeepers breed endangered species in captivity to save them from extinction. However, something bad usually happens.
When they release them into the wild, the animals that were bred in captivity often do not avoid predators and are not able to find ample food or shelter for themselves. They die as a result.
We are breeding humans in captivity.
In an effort to protect children from the dangers of failure or setback, some have made them unfit for the wild world they’ll be living in. For years, I’ve watched parents and teachers lie to their children.
In the name of self esteem, they comfortably praise children for everything they do, even when they fail to do anything special, smart, or strong.
You tried? Here’s a trophy or ribbon!
Unfortunately, this isn’t real life. Now that Generation Y is out in “The Wild”, they are surprised when the company they applied to doesn’t think they’re special, the words they write aren’t smart, or their strongest performance isn’t enough. They learn that anything but first place may not be good enough.
Confused, these young people move in with their parents, go back for more school, or join the Occupy Wall Street protests.
They were bred in captivity.
If we want our children or team members to know how to hunt or protect themselves, then we must teach them how at an early age. No longer should people be praised because they participated. It is lazy and easy to praise everyone for everything. Far more difficult and important, is to find the specific gifts that each person has, encourage them to use the gifts, and then support them as they fail, learn, and grow.
We must teach them to fish, not give them fish. We must show them the real world, not hide them from it.
We must let them fail.
The school of hard knocks teaches real life lessons. Losers will become learners. Failing may be the best thing that can happen to a young person.
Usually, 8pm Warriors that make something great during their lives can point to key situations where success happened by an inch or two. It might be the large client that changed their mind and chose you, or the time you found just enough capital to push through a slow period.
Those victories are won by an inch. Every inch, every chance mattered for success.
The same goes for failure.
One of the reasons I am so passionate about pushing my absolute limits is because everywhere I look, I see inches. I try to take every inch when I can, not knowing how far I really have to go to reach my goal.
Even so, I am worried about missing by a couple inches. It’s one of my greatest fears and cause of numerous agonizing defeats.
I’m not alone.
We all need inches and tonight is the best time to find them.
PS. One of my friends mentioned that this pep talk below really fits with this topic. I agree. Check it out.
I’ve made every wrong choice a middle-aged man can make. I pissed away all my money, believe it or not. I chased off anyone who’s ever loved me, and lately, I can’t even stand the face I see in the mirror.
You know when you get old in life, things get taken from you. That’s part of life. But you only learn that when you start losing stuff. You find out life’s this game of inches. And so is football. Because in either game, life or football, the margin for error is so small. I mean…one half a step too late or too early and you don’t quite make it. One half second too slow too fast, you don’t quite catch it.
The inches we need are everywhere around us. They are in every break of the game, every minute, every second.
On this team, we fight for that inch. On this team, we tear ourselves and everyone else around us to pieces for that inch. We claw with our fingernails for that inch. Because we know when we add up all those inches, that’s gonna make the difference between winning and losing! Between living and dying!
I’ll tell you this – in any fight, its the guy who’s willing to die who’s gonna win that inch. And I know if I’m going to have any life anymore, it’s because I’m still willing to fight and die for that inch. Because that’s what living is!
It’s common to hear mentors advise young people to do what they love. I’ve offered that advice myself many times.
However, I wonder if it’s become an excuse for some who confuse “doing what they love” with avoiding things they don’t love.
Rejection is painful
No one loves working long hours while others play
The best way to successfully do what you love is to work while others play, get rejected numerous times, and fail forward and faster than others in your field. In a world of unlimited competition, the winners will be separated by mere inches, their level of passion, and the bravery to do what hurts.
Doing what hurts is the key to doing what you love.
If you answer “Yes” to any of these, then maybe we can help each other.
When I started the 8pm Warrior blog back in December, I explained that I was motivated to create a community of people that had big dreams, pushed their personal limits, and loved their work. So far, I have failed.
Despite having hundreds of readers some days, we still have work to do if we’re going to build something that is helpful, supportive, and worthwhile. The missing ingredient?
I’ll keep at it, but I need your feedback on how we can make this work. Maybe I need to do less talking, and more asking? Do I post too late? I honestly would like your feedback.
Possibly, some folks don’t realize how great it can be…how it can help us all go further?
Here are just two examples of successful community groups I’d like to recreate for people like us:
I like to be up-front with my colleagues that 9 out of 10 ideas I come up with are bad ones.
However, sometimes it seems like I’m trying to get through the first nine as fast as possible. While many people (not my fellow 8pm Warriors) might give up after one or two failures, I’ve got plans for something special. I’m holding out for magic #10 every time, no matter how painful it gets.
That’s means a lot of failure.
I didn’t always think of myself as a 90% failure, but after looking at my past it’s quite clear. With all the running, pushing, and leaping I’ve done over the years, there’s been a LOT of gut-wrenching, aching, painful failures to get to #10.
You probably know the feeling I’m talking about…
However, as the oldest son of a Lutheran minister with eight kids, I had no other choice if I wanted to be successful in business leadership without waiting forever. No one was going to do it for me.
I had to pay for college, take loans for almost everything I needed to start out, and never had any seed money or venture capital from family (they were all poor or thought I was crazy).
On top of that, we were lacking strong business mentors in my family. I was the product of 2 generations of pastors and 4 generations of farmers. Nothing wrong with those professions, it’s just that I had another calling, another passion. However, it meant less support and fewer cheerleaders along the way.
I’ll bet I’m not alone.
These days, many of us are having a hard time with failure. Take heart. If you want to be different, blaze trails, make magic, then you’re bound to fail at some point. Sooner or later we all fail along the path to great things. The key is not quitting.
Ignore the naysayers. Ignore the “I told you so” folks.
It’s easy for the spectators in life to watch us fall down on the road of life. It’s easy for them to privately laugh, snicker, and feel good about themselves from the comfort of their simple life. They will call us failures, “Pie in the Sky” dreamers, and tell us to get our heads out of the clouds.
I don’t care.
We will reach the end. We will get to #10. It just might hurt a bit and we must accept the fact that we might be 90% failures.
This blog is about that journey, about those who walk the same path towards their destiny.