The word has such a negative connotation to it. People use it to describe someone who doesn’t succeed, or a concept or a plan that doesn’t work, but today I learned that failure isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A few weeks before I hurt my foot, my best friend that is a personal trainer and an ex pro wrestler turned body builder, suggested that since I wasn’t feeling my leg workouts, that I start taking my last set to “failure”. I jumped on that bandwagon and considered that when it was hard enough I started to struggle, that that was failure. I was wrong. So wrong. I wasn’t even in the arena of failure.
Before I went to the gym today I laid out all of my old arm work outs, arms are probably my weakest day but I am seeing so much progress, and wrote down what I wanted to do so that I wasn’t running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I always feel like I spend more time thinking than doing on my arm work out days. I started off with my usual core workout on the smith machine, had some near failures on my modified dead lift when I maxed it out at 95 (a personal best) and on my 15th rep barely got it back into its slot. After I finished there I moved on to the arm work out I had written. I also added a few new things, and I had adjusted and increased my weight on some of the old things.
I got to about my 5th exercise with the dumb bells and I had chosen to increase the weight to 15 (on arms I do 4 sets of 12 or 15 reps with a 30 second rest between each set). 1…2…3…4… This is getting hard 5…6… Push up you’ve got this 7… 8… It’s not going 9…. 1 can’t even get it back up to my shoulder much less above my head and into the air. THAT is failure. I learned today that hmm I’m pretty sure I can’t do another so I’m done with this set is apparently NOT failure. After that I dropped the weight down to 10lbs and upped the reps to 15 and by the end of my 4th set I was pretty much almost at failure but could just barely get it there.
Failure isn’t the bad thing everyone makes it out to be. To fail you have to try, and since when is trying your best and not succeeding something that is bad? If you fail and quit that’s one thing, but if you try and keep failing but keep getting up, eventually you will be able to succeed at whatever you are trying to do. Even if you try and fall short of your goal, you are going to be so far above and beyond that person who didn’t even bother to try. I can’t lift that 15 lb weight over my head from waist level 15 times in a row now, or even 12, and I might not be able to do it tomorrow, or even next week, but I guarantee I will keep trying and failing until I can.