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Passive Vs. Active Failure


You experience a lot of different kinds of skillsets during a career. You encounter players that are better than you, players that are worse than you, players with more talent but achieve less success, and players with less talent that achieve more success. On the surface, it's easy to attribute this success to luck or some sort of unattainable level of talent. However, this success - or lack thereof - comes down to one factor: failure.


The reality is everyone fails. How people fail, though, varies greatly.


Passive Failure


Take the player who has all the talent in the world but lacks the ability to turn that talent into on-field success.


Everyday they hit the ball farther than everyone else in batting practice, the sound off their bat resembling a gun shot. They defend smoother than anyone and can run like the wind. Then, all of a sudden, the game starts.


At the end of the day they're 0-4 with two strikeouts and an error on the field.


The question is not whether they possess enough talent but what they are doing with it. Failure is inevitable. What comes next is a choice by the respective player. It comes down to a simple question: can you make adjustments?


When the passive player fails, they do it again. And again. And again. Afraid of being uncomfortable, they are not willing to change the process in order to change the outcome. They would rather fail, as long as they never have to leave their comfort zone.


A passive player views success as something that finds them. They think to themselves, "All I need is a couple hits, then I'll start being confident." What they fail to realize is that the confidence comes first. The hits follow.



Active Failure


Active players are also reactive players. They are malleable, cerebral, and comfortable being uncomfortable. All these qualities make for a player who is willing to make adjustments.


When an active player fails, he changes something. It doesn't have to be a monumental change, but the active player knows that changing parts of the process is vital to changing the result.


The work is never done. Just because a player has a good round in the cage does not mean it automatically translates to the game. Sometimes it does and sometimes it doesn't. When it doesn't, the active player has a plan in place to still help their team win, even if the first opportunity or two doesn't go their way.


An active player doesn't wait around for confidence. They understand that they bring the confidence that leads to success.


Even for an active player, failure is inevitable. However, they still work for the next success. They know that, without change, failure can grow monotonous. It can set in as the expected result and grow stale until something is done differently.


When we wait around for positive results to find us, failure seizes the opportunity to consume us. Nothing good ever came by waiting around for things to happen. The change has to come from within. As a result, the success that follows is the product of our adjustments and confidence. We may still fail, but at least we will be failing actively.


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