Comfort with Failure

Failing sucks.  It spurs such negative feelings and thoughts that most of us strive to avoid failing as much as possible.

Today after training I realized that I need to become more comfortable with working to failure.  I always stop myself short of failure.  Today’s example of this comes from trying to find a 3-rep max for deadlifts.  I did a set of 3…had to really fight for that 3rd rep and was left with all muscles shaking after the set.  I thought, “Well, there’s the most I can lift for 3 reps.”

But here’s the thing…I didn’t even try to lift more.  I took some weight off the bar to get my working weight and carried on.  I didn’t fail at that heavy set of 3.  I did successfully lift it.  So why didn’t I add some more weight and try another heavy set?  Because I didn’t want to fail.  I should have added more weight and tried a heavier set.  If I couldn’t have completed a heavier set…so what?  But maybe I could have lifted more!

My new personal challenge is going to be trying to find a place where I can be comfortable with failure.  The easiest place for me to start with this is in the gym, where I can regularly push myself to the limits of my strength and ability.  I think I’ve gotten good at pushing to the limit.  But now I want to push beyond.


2 thoughts on “Comfort with Failure

  1. I struggle with this so much! Well, a little different…. I regularly go to failure, but then I feel really bad about myself for failing. It’s really difficult to return the next day when the day before was full of failure. It’s so comfortable to not fail!

    1. I should write a follow up to this post now! Right after I wrote this, we embarked on a new program at the gym that involved sets of max reps in each of the big lifts. Meaning…we were pushing ourselves to failure in those sets of max reps quite regularly. Facing that regular failure was great for pushing me out of the comfort zone where I never failed AND for re-framing the failure in the success of having pushed yourself.

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