Lessons in Failure: Does Struggle Make Us Stronger?
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” is an adage that’s been around for quite some time. But, if you really want to understand whether or not personal or professional struggles can make you stronger, then you need not look any further than Super Bowl LII between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots. Nick Foles’ victory speech had some words of wisdom that we can all learn from.
Don’t be Afraid to Fail
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, along with the rest of the organization, is a prime example of becoming stronger based upon past struggles. From overcoming various injuries to being traded several times, Foles had to confront plenty of adversity en route to leading the Eagles to their first Super Bowl victory in franchise history. Upon being named MVP of this year’s Super Bowl, Foles gave a speech and stressed to the fans that daily struggles are opportunities for character growth. He said, “I think the big thing is don’t be afraid to fail. In our society today – you know, Instagram, Twitter, it’s a highlight reel. It’s all the good things. And then when you look at it, you think, like, wow, when you have a rough day or your life’s not as good as that, you’re failing. Failure is a part of life. That’s a part of building character and growing. Like, without failure, who would you be? I wouldn’t be up here if I hadn’t fallen thousands of times, made mistakes. We all are human. We all have weaknesses.”
Perseverance is Key
Nick Foles added his name to a rather extensive list of those who are commonly referred to as “famous failures.” The list includes the likes of NBA Hall of Fame member Michael Jordan, who was cut from his high school basketball team, and American inventor Thomas Edison, who failed thousands of times before successfully achieving the first lightbulb. A series of experiments featured in Psychology Today even indicated that failure motivated participants to do well on tasks that were relevant to their specific goals.
In his victory speech Foles added, “I’m not perfect; I’m not Superman. I might be in the NFL, and we might have just won the Super Bowl, but hey, we still have daily struggles. I have daily struggles. But that’s where my faith comes in. That’s where my family comes in. I think when you look at a struggle in your life, just know that that’s just an opportunity for your character to grow. And that’s really just been the message. Simple. Like, if something’s going on in your life and you’re struggling, embrace it, because you’re growing.” It’s important not to let performance validate your ability, but rather take an approach of accepting and embracing the struggle that comes along with working toward any long-term goal.
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