The Upside of Epic Failure_Snowboarding

I had been lost in a self-abusive mental loop all day, berating myself for my epic failure. I was questioning whether everything I had worked on for the past 4 years, in an effort to build a protocol that would allow for the rapid transfer of any skill set from a novice to an expert, quickly and easily, was completely off-base, worthless, garbage (see “Crash and Burn”).


Until the moment I had made a sudden and irreversible impact with windswept, hard packed ice, I had been so pleased with the rapid progress I was experiencing in learning to snowboard. I had picked it as a skill set I could easily use to test out RSTP theories. I had watched the students of the ski-school instructors getting beat up, day after day, over on the bunny slope. And I was thrilled beyond words to see my incremental “go-slow-to-go-fast” skill acquisition approach paying off – in contrast to those students, I had taken very few spills and was gaining skill and confidence quickly – I was excited to think that the theory appeared to be sound in practice.

As I lay in bed that night, with my newly minted shoulder AC separation, doing my very best to lay perfectly still, the critical voices in my head still rolling – I suddenly had a 4:00 am post crash-and-burn ah-ha moment….

Epic failure, oftentimes, is the only way to make certain key distinctions.

I realized that epic failure plays an important, possibly critical, role in ultimate success, if you know, and have the courage, to look for it. An acute case of beginner’s luck can be deceiving – when everything goes without a hitch you’re likely missing a very big something that may eventually bite you further down the path, as it did for me – it bit me very hard!!

But an epic failure, one that leaves you broken in some way – mind, spirit, beliefs – forces you to grapple with the mistaken beliefs and assumptions you held that simply did not hold up under the test of reality. It’s letting you know that you have additional work that needs to be done in order to have a more complete understanding of the reality with which you’re working. This is feedback, NOT FAILURE!!!

So here’s what I learned from My Epic Failure…  (see “Lessons from My Epic Failure”)

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