Monday, May 04, 2009


Vince Lombardi - “Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all time thing. You don't win once in a while, you don't do things right once in a while, you do them right all the time. Winning is habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”
There's a strong tendency, to overestimate the harm of failure. But the reality in sports is that second place is considered by many to be the first loser. No one remembers the scores you lose by, what matters is the position you finished in. Anything less than winning is often perceived as “not making the grade.” It is this tendency, and lack of respect for failure, that undermines progress.

The topic of failure is the subject that is so often raised in our sporting fraternity. And the failure hockey team in meeting the top two spot in the forthcoming Asia Cup could well be the subject of public discussions for weeks to come, unless another failure supersedes events.

We can moderate our response to failure by understanding the role of failure in the process of success. The single biggest obstacle to achieving prosperity is a lack of understanding of the essential role of failure in this process.

This prevents people from yielding the full measure of their potential. The belief that failure is bad causes immense harm. It severely restricts talent and contribution. But above all it prevents change that is so needed in Malaysian sports.

You can call it a jinx; you can call it bad luck. You can call it poor administration or poor talent.

This perception of failure is a threat, a roadblock, on the path of progress. It would be nice to unwrap the package known as progress, and keep the sweetness of success while rejecting the bitterness of failure. That simply is not possible.

Although you could endure a brutal beating of criticism or an unhealthy round of self-condemnation, it is natural to protect yourself from such failure. However, avoidance of failure eventually impedes your progress. There's no need to whitewash failure or to pretend that failure is an unmitigated blessing.

Hence the MHF president should not seek to find solace, should the team fail to meet the target, by saying that we have a bright future ahead of us. Mind you these were the exact words that were uttered by many before him.

Failure serves an indispensable function in the production of any great success. It provides information and motivation for people who respond appropriately to its lessons. Failure is part of the steering mechanism that directs an individual toward prosperity. Preventing failure is equivalent to removing the steering wheel from a moving vehicle.