When was the last time you made a mistake? Did it ruin the rest of your day? Did it affect the rest of your life? I believe that the biggest mistake in life is to fear that you will make one. Before every basketball game I fear that I will miss a shot. Every game I fear that I will pass the ball right to the other team. Every game I fear that a tall guy will walk up and block my shot while the crowd shouts out, “ohhhhh!” During the basketball games, I find my self doing exactly what I feared. After every basketball game I am upset with myself on how poorly I played that game. I then came across a quote that blew me away, “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot, and I missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is precisely why I succeed.” -Michael Jordan.
This got me thinking that everyone makes mistakes; even the best basketball player ever to live makes mistakes, missing shots, creating turnovers, and getting blocked. I also realized that the process of making mistakes helps you grow and develop. Making a mistake is not the end of the world and you should try that much harder to do better. When you fear making a mistake you are distracted from what you set out to do.
The next basketball game was against our rival high school. Throughout the whole first half I did not make a single shot. I was busy making turnovers, passing the ball when I should have shot and so on. It was half time, and we all went into the locker room. I then thought to myself that I have made so many mistakes already, it will not hurt to just play basketball. Right at the beginning of the second half I came away with a steal for an easy lay-up. I was ready. When I had the shot, I took it. When there was an opportunity, I took it. Like almost every basketball game, it came down to the wire. With 8 seconds left in the game we were all tied up and ready to go into overtime. I then thought that “There is nothing to fear but fear itself. – FDR” so I took a deep breath and ran down the court. I got the pass, let the ball fly and scored. This time the crowd roared! The fear of failure is far worse than the failure itself.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.