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Hold That "L": Failing Your Way To Success | Installment I

This blog entry marks the first installment of the "September Series" where we will be highlighting one principle this month--failing your way to success--using different examples from the court.

Every basketball fan is familiar with the dominance of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s. Although the Bulls had a stranglehold on the NBA during that decade, what often goes overlooked, and under-appreciated, is the struggle the team endured on the road to winning their first NBA Championship. From 1988 to 1990, the Chicago Bulls were defeated in the playoffs by the eventual Eastern Conference Champions--and NBA Champions in 1989 and 1990--Detroit Pistons.

Infamously known as "The Bad Boys" for their physically imposing, defense-oriented style of play, the Pistons employed a strategy against Michael Jordan known as "The Jordan Rules." The objective of the Jordan Rules was to essentially slow Jordan down offensively by being extremely

physical with him and forcing him to defer to his lesser talented teammates. Battling mental and physical fatigue, Jordan and the Bulls were unable to overcome the Piston's effective strategy and were eliminated from championship contention by the same team, three years in a row.

In 1991, the Bulls returned to the Eastern Conference Finals once again to face their nemesis, the Detroit Pistons. This time, they were ready. The team adopted a different offensive scheme known as the "triangle offense," they grew physically and mentally stronger, Scottie Pippen emerged as a premier player in the league competing alongside Jordan, and other teammates stepped up their level of play as well. What was the result?

The Bulls swept the Pistons in four games and defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1991 NBA Finals to win the NBA championship. The Bulls would go on to win a total of 6 NBA Championships from 1991 to 1998. They won the championship three consecutive years in a row, twice--from 1991 to 1993 and from 1996 to 1998.

Michael Jordan stated, "The team [Pistons] pushed us to a certain level. I don't think we would've won those six championships without getting over that hump in Detroit." Losing prompted the Bulls to learn what they needed to do in order to defeat their greatest adversary and helped them establish themselves as an NBA dynasty.

There are valuable lessons hidden in every "L" (loss) we take. Failure promotes growth. Failure teaches us what it takes to win, and to keep winning. Hence, failure can oftentimes be the best thing that happens to us.

So hold that L. Embrace it. Appreciate it. Instead of looking at failure as your personal inability to do something, look at it solely as an opportunity to improve yourself and to learn from your previous missteps.

Do not give up on yourself and your dreams because things did not go the way you anticipated they would on your first, second, or even third try. Rather, use those experiences to critically analyze what it was that you did ineffectively then take the necessary steps to correct that behavior. You will become better equipped to handle the challenges you encounter in the future.

If what you are seeking to accomplish is worthwhile and adds benefit to your life, then it is worth doing badly, until you get it right. Do not let inexperience or the prospect of failure discourage you. Rather, do the work on yourself that is necessary to overcome the obstacles you were previously hindered by.

You do not have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great. Fail your way to success. Appreciate the hardships you go through as these experiences will empower you to overcome adversity in the future. There are no limits on the amount of times you can try to accomplish something. Therefore, do not stop working for what you want until you attain it. For it is not over, until you win.

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