Michael Jordan, of the Chicago Bulls, is known for being one of the most legendary basketball players of all time. However, he admits he’s missed more than 9,000 shots in his career, lost almost 300 games, and missed the game-winning shot 26 times.
These are lesser-known and lesser celebrated numbers. What we do tend to remember and document are good statistics. For instance, with 5,987 points, he still holds the record for the most points ever scored in a playoff season.
What’s so great about this quote is that it draws our attention away from the good outcomes. It presents us with the bad. And in doing so, it teaches us a valuable lesson.
There’s a danger in only looking at the good outcomes of the people we admire or consider “successful.” Sometimes the road to their success is wrought with a staggering number of failures we may not know about. Realizing their path may not have been a smooth, easy, failure-free one, has a way of altering our psyche. It not only normalizes failure but also presents it as a, sometimes, necessary prerequisite to success. Suddenly, we’re less hard on ourselves when we miss the mark. We’re more kind and forgiving toward ourselves when we also experience failures–as they did.