Failing is the strongest thing you can do, scientifically speaking.
Let me explain...
In fitness, exercises are often divided into sets of repetitions or “reps.”
A “rep” consists of 2 phases: the “concentric” phase where you’re lifting the weight, and the “eccentric” phase where you’re letting the weight come back down in a controlled motion.
For example, in a biceps curl, the “concentric” part is the part where you’re bringing the weight up toward your shoulder. The “eccentric” part is the part where you’re lowering the weight back down to your waist.
Here’s the cool part: Your muscles are capable of exerting more force on the eccentric phase than the concentric phase.
Think about it. You can resist a very heavy weight coming down but you might not always be able to move it back up.
And when a weight is too much to handle and you can’t finish the concentric portion, that’s called taking a rep to “failure.”
This is why sometimes, when it’s safe, it’s good to take things to failure. It makes you stronger.
But it’s a double-edged sword. Failing reps is very stressful on the body and takes longer to recover from than if you don’t fail. That’s why it’s not good to do it all the time.
Failing Can Make Your Life Better
Failure can provide the same strength-giving benefits in every other area of life.
But we just hate doing it.
It’s almost everyone’s number one fear: fear of failure.
And failure is stressful. It does take some time to recover from. But it also makes you stronger.
Failing to reach your fitness goals
Failing a project at work
Failing an assignment at in school
Failing in your relationship
These all hurt. And they are all opportunities to learn and get stronger. Opportunities to be a better person.
Next time you fail, take a look at what happened. What happened is not about who you are. It’s just what happened.
Give yourself the right to be a little emotional. Failure’s not fun and you need a moment to get back up when you fall. Then look back at what went wrong and kindly ask yourself:
“What’s the simplest and easiest way I can be 1% better next time this happens?”
Not “how can I be perfect next time?” Just 1% better. That’s all you need to grow.
Failing doesn’t mean you’re a bad person. It doesn’t mean you should quit.
It’s a challenge to be better. It’s a reason to grow stronger. It’s fuel for the fire.
Just like the Hydra of Greek mythology grew back two heads when one was cut off, you can come back from a failure stronger and better than when you started.
So make friends with failure. Fail confidently knowing that failure is the highest form of strength.
What will you try today that you might fail at?