Wednesday, June 19, 2024

From the Publisher: Compete Until You Fail

by David Specht

Life Lessons from Track and Field

You can learn life lessons from just about anywhere. Recently, I learned a profound lesson on success from an unexpected place: a track and field meet.

I found myself captivated by two events in particular: the pole vault and the high jump. Each of these events requires athletes to keep attempting jumps until they fail. The highest level of success is recorded, but every endeavor in these events is ultimately an exercise in failure, because the competition doesn’t end until the athlete can no longer clear the bar.


In these events, not only are athletes measured against their competitors, but they are also measured against their own past performances. The term for this is PR, or personal record. It’s a reminder that in addition to striving to be the best among others, there is immense value in striving to be the best version of yourself.

This made me reflect on how often we quit when faced with failure, not realizing that our personal record might be just around the corner. Or worse, we achieve our personal record, but fail to celebrate it because we are too focused on the failure itself.

Here are a few key takeaways from this experience:

Embrace Failure as a Step to Success

In both the pole vault and high jump, failure isn’t the end—it’s an integral part of the process. Each failure is a step closer to reaching your highest potential. Apply this mindset to your personal and professional life. Every setback is a setup for a comeback.

Measure Against Yourself

While it’s important to be aware of the competition, your greatest competitor is yourself. Strive to beat your personal records and continuously improve. Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small they may seem.

Don’t Quit Too Soon

Many of us give up too quickly when faced with failure, not realizing that success might be just one more attempt away. Push through the failures, because perseverance is often the key to breaking through to new levels of success.

Celebrate Your Personal Records

When you achieve a personal milestone, take the time to acknowledge and celebrate it. Recognize the hard work and dedication it took to get there, and use that success as motivation to keep pushing forward.

Track and field remind us that success isn’t about avoiding failure—it’s about embracing it, learning from it, and using it as a stepping stone to greater achievements. So, the next time you face a challenge, remember to compete until you fail. Your personal record might just be one more attempt away.

David A. Specht Jr. is publisher and editor of BIZ. and President of Specht Newspapers, Inc.

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