12 years ago I was 15 years old. It was at that age where my life changed forever. Why? That was when I learned how to deal with failure. I hit a low point in my life at that point, and it was all because I let failure eat away at me until I was too scared to do anything. I literally feared failing. Learning how to deal with failure is a HUGE key to success, and I’m going to explain why and share my story.
I started playing baseball at the age of 5 years old. It was my entire life until I graduated college about 17 years later. For years and years I traveled around the country partaking in tournaments, playing around 120 games per year. As you may know, baseball is a sport of failure. A great baseball player will fail 7 out of 10 times at the plate, giving him a .300 batting average. A .300 batting average at the pro level should get you into the Hall of Fame! However, it’s not easy getting to that .300 mark. Why? Because 70% of the time you fail, and you have to be able to know how to deal with failure if you want to be able to become successful.
I had a hard time dealing with failure. When I struck out it ate away at me. I would become so ticked off at myself and nervous that I would do it again that guess what happened? Yeah, I would strike out again, and again, and again. If I would strike out during my first plate appearance for the day, my entire day was ruined for me, and that’s not good if you play a double or triple header during a day. There were a few days that I remember having 8 strike outs and literally going 0-12 because I let failure affect me SO MUCH!
It started getting real bad for me at the age of 12 and finally hit its peak at 15, to the point where I thought about quitting baseball. I no longer enjoyed the game because all I could think about was not striking out, not making an error, and it just stressed the heck out of me! The summer of the year when I was 15 was the worst, and my fear of failure became so bad that I was in the .100’s for batting average and my coach benched me. It was embarrassing. I have never been benched before, and there is nothing worst than sitting there and watching your team play while you keep the score, and knowing that you are the only reason why you aren’t out there. That day I got home, went upstairs in my room, teared up and just held my head in my head, not knowing what I was going to do next. “Should I quit?” was all I was thinking. That was when I got a knock on my door. My dad walked in, threw a book down on my bed and demanded that I read it. He didn’t say anything else and just walked out. That book was “The Magic of Thinking Big” by David Scwhartz. Dad knew that the key to my success in baseball was to get my mind right and learn how to deal with failure. Now it’s very rare that my dad tells me to do something, so I took him very seriously and started reading the book right there. Little did I know that not only would that book changed around my baseball career, but also my financial future as well.
“The Magic of Thinking Big” absolutely changed my life. Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down. It taught me how to deal with failure, the importance of believing in myself, thinking big, setting goals, and defeating fear. When I got through the book, I read it again, and again, and again until all of those concepts were drilled into my mind. A few months later I started to notice a drastic change in my baseball game. I was more confident in myself, didn’t get as upset with myself, and most importantly, learned how to deal with failure. Now, understand that this was not a process that happened overnight. I had to train my mind to BELIEVE in these principles, and when you have years and years of negative thinking, it can be a tough and long process to change it, but I did. Negative thoughts would occasionally creep into my mind, but I just had to replace them with positive ones. Over years and years of reading personal development books, I was able to change the way I thought and deal with failure the proper way.
I gained back my starting position in baseball and started becoming better and better. My senior year In high school (I started Varsity all 4 years) I started center field, was leadoff hitter, and went to the State Championship with my team. We didn’t win, but ended up the season 32-2. I then ended up getting a scholarship to play in college and had unbelievable junior and senior years, leading the team to a National Championship and winning All League First Team Honors. After I graduated college, I began a career as a Financial Advisor, but quickly turned my attention to starting my own business by becoming a Beachbody Coach. In 2010 I won Top Beachbody Coach our of over 50,000 coaches in the country and also created complete financial independence for my family and I. I also was an Elite Top 10 coach in 2011 and will be Elite once again this year. How did I accomplish so much in such a short amount of time? Believing in myself, working hard, and dealing with failure the right way.
Now on to how exactly I dealt with failure. What did “The Magic of Thinking Big” teach me? The hardest part for me was accepting failure. I looked at it like it was a bad thing and tried to avoid it all all costs. What was interesting is that the more I feared and avoided it, the more it happened and the more I got down on myself. After reading the book, I learned that in order for me to succeed with anything I did, I had to ACCEPT failure. Instead of looking at failure as a negative, I had to turn my thinking around and look at it as a positive. Now you might be asking, “How in the world can it be a positive?” I’ll tell you why. Failure WILL HAPPEN, there is no getting around it. The people who succeed are the people who understand that principle. Instead of getting down on yourself because of failing, you have to look at it as a learning tool. Failure now teaches me what I need to do different in order to keep moving forward towards my goals. If I never failed, I would never succeed. Does that make sense? Once I come across a failure, which I have many, many times in both my baseball and business career, instead of continuing to do the same things over and over again, I learn from those failures, make the necessary adjustments, and keep chugging along towards my goals. Failure holds a lot of people back, but not me. Most people quit when they fail, but I smile, make adjustments, and continue succeeding. Once you can do so yourself, your life will change, I promise you.
What are some of the things you can do to change your thinking? Personal development and more personal development. Seriously, you should be reading AT LEAST 10 pages of a personal development book EVERY SINGLE DAY! Don’t take this lightly either. To this day I still read personal development, and I have been very successful. I still understand the importance of it, and it’s something that I will do for as long as I possibly can. If you want to know how to deal with failure and get your mind right, this is where you start. If you don’t like reading, they have personal development audio you can listen to. And don’t use time as an excuse either. You can pop a CD in your car and listen to it to and from work, when you’re working out, etc. There is time, there is always time. It’s all about prioritizing, and this should be one of your priorities. Some of the other books that I recommend are “The Slight Edge” by Jeff Olson, “The Art of Exceptional Living” by Jim Rohn, and “Talent is Never Enough” by John Maxwell. If you want to know more, just contact me.
Last, I want to finish up with this. As you noticed, there is a picture above and you might be thinking, “What does this have to do with how to deal with failure?” I’ll tell you what it has to do with it. This is a picture of my friends, Melinda, and I on a paid vacation in St. Thomas because of the success I’ve had with the Beachbody Business. I would have never been there if I didn’t learn how to deal with failure. That trip is just one of many, many trips I have won, but it’s one of the first and meant a lot to me. It was a massive accomplishment, and it made me feel great for all the hard work I’ve put into the business.
If you struggle with dealing with failure, I hope you found this post helpful. If you have any questions whatsoever, feel free to reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m here to help!
My name is Josh Spencer and I'm a husband, father, online fitness Coach (since 2008), soon to be author, and holistic healing advocate. Since 2008 I've helped thousands and thousands of people make a change in their health! I believe that in order to make incredible changes you have to have the right mindset, nutrition, and workout plan.