Back in June, I posted the story of my dodgeball team and our Cinderella run to the finals after a regular season filled with losing.
I still proudly display my medal at work.
My fiance and I decided to join dodgeball again for the Winter season (that's right, there are actually multiple seasons of this thing), but due to scheduling conflicts we had to join a different team this time around.
Our former team (Average Jay's Gym) went on to completely dominate the competition all season long.
Our new team (The Hurlers) won just one game.
I wasn't particularly concerned. After all, in the previous season with Average Jay's, we only won two games before going on our improbable streak to the finals. Every team makes the playoffs, so really the only point of the regular season is to determine seeding. The important thing was to get everybody some time on the court, and we'd get better every week. Right?
Well, not exactly. Last night our team got absolutely pounded in round one of the playoffs (by a team named "The Chins of Chuck Norris", no less). We got shut out 4 games to zilch.
As for me, my dodgeball technique actually regressed this season. I think I lasted a total of 30 seconds in the games I played last night.
What's the point of all this? Simple. Failing teaches you things. When you do something you're good at, you don't tend to learn much from the experience. It's only when you do things that fall outside your comfort zone that you really learn. In fact, you learn a lot more about a person when they lose... especially if that person is you.
In fact, I think there's something rather strange about a person who is only interested in winning. That type of person is unlikely to participate in activities where they perceive they have a weakness, and that means that they stop developing at a certain point in their lives. They put an artificial cap on themselves and their realm of experience.
I am not a talented athlete by any stretch of the imagination. I know it might be hard to believe, but writing code for a living doesn't translate well to activities that require a great deal of physicality.
But for the past few years (largely due to my fiance's influence), I've tried out things like flag football, dodgeball, and hopefully basketball in the near future. I'm actually playing racquetball tonight with a fellow from the team.
It should make for good comedy. But you can't be afraid to get a beatdown once in awhile. You can't be afraid to lose. Because once you are afraid of failing, you stop learning.
In the link above about the old dodgeball team, there is a quote:
If it wasn't for failure, we wouldn't have succeeded.
- Lucas Hellmer
I don't think that's always true. There are a lot of talented people out there that are just good at certain things. But if they don't try things they might not be good at, they'll never realize their full potential.
So I encourage you to get out there and try something you've never tried. Better yet, do something you know you're not good at. You'll learn from the experience... even if all you learn is that a dodgeball to the face doesn't leave a mark (unless you consider shame a mark), that's something.