What March Madness Can Teach Us About Taking Chances & Learning From Failures

We’re right in the middle of every college basketball fan’s favorite time of the year: March Madness. Some people that don’t even follow sports regularly will make an exception to watch it, much like the Super Bowl, just to witness the drama unfold and experience the last second, game winning shots. But filling out a bracket at work isn’t the real reason why people get so caught up in the shear excitement of March Madness.

Every single one of the teams in the tournament could go on to win it all, but most people don’t even give them a chance. Teams that make it into the tournament on automatic bids from lesser-known conferences are written off by sports analysts before the first games even tip-off. The truth is that all of these teams have a chance to win and that is what makes it exciting to watch.

Get Back on the Horse

It doesn’t matter anymore what these teams have done earlier in the season. What they will be remembered for is what they do now. In a similar fashion, you may think that because you have done certain things in your life up to this point that you have to continue on in a similar path. That is just not true. You have the chance, just like every 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament, to show people that your critics are wrong.

“If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.” - John Wooden

In this year’s tournament there are 68 teams and 67 of them will lose their last game of the season. Do you think these 67 teams, their players and coaches will just give up playing basketball after they lose? Heck no they won’t. They have set the bar of what they were able to achieve this year and every day of the next year will be spent preparing to prove that they can be the one team left standing on the podium in 2012.

In your personal life you may have worked extremely hard on a relationship, career, degree or business and at the end of it may have gotten dumped, been fired, been left unemployed or gone bankrupt. So what are you going to do about it? Give up? No. You can’t and won’t give up. Get back on the horse, recollect yourself and give it another chance.

You have to know when it is time to quit something or say no, but without ever giving yourself another chance to try again after you fail you won’t grow. What if everybody gave up after they failed?

“His Airness”

Michael Jordan didn’t make his varsity basketball team his sophomore year of high school. Do you think he just threw out his shoes and gave up on his dreams? I don’t think so. That year he became the star of the junior varsity team by putting up several forty-point games. Over the summer he trained harder, grew four inches, gave it another chance the next season and the rest is history.

MJ may have had a lot of fans, but he was his biggest critic. He practiced so hard because he wanted to be the best. Without continually making mistakes, failing and having more chances he wouldn’t have led the Chicago Bulls to 6 NBA Championships, made millions off of endorsement deals and became a household name around the world.

By repeatedly getting up after you get knocked down you learn more than if you just never tried. Start-ups like to hire CEO’s that have failed at getting a company off the ground before because they are more aware of the causes of failure.

“I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” - Michael Jordan

If you quit something before you even get to the starting line though, you’ll never know what could have been. Give yourself the chance to succeed and you can change your life into what you’ve always dreamed of.

What do you need to take another chance on? Do you listen to the critics who say you are the underdog? Do you quit when you should really keep going? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below.

Guest Post at Ending the Grind

Also, I had a guest post go up today at Ending the Grind about how I’m working to escape the 9 to 5 till 65. Please check it out here and comment if you like it.

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LifeCaleb Wojcik