You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats,
so you can know who you are, what you can rise from,
how you can still come out of it.
Maya Angelou, an American poet
(in Villarosa, 2011, p.60)
People are often constrained by their terrible fear of failure. I was not an exception. Before my seventeenth birthday, I had hardly experienced any failure in my whole life. In studies, music classes, or sports all was very smooth. Indeed, if I only happened to sense the smell of an upcoming failure in whatever I was engaged in, I would promptly back off and avoid doing that. I thought that lack of successful outcome was a crying shame, which was impossible get over. Yet, real life taught a lesson that proved that was mistaken. I faced the moment of failure and that moment also became the point of great self-discovery. My big failure at a taekwondo tournament was a big turning point, which guided me to perceive failures from a different perspective. Now I know that failures are a way to explore your inner self, mobilize your hidden strength, and learn to keep your end up.
Now I will tell you my special story. When I was seventeen I was into taekwondo, a type of martial arts that originates from Korea. I had started taekwondo when I was ten and was training persistently for all following years believing that one day I would win a tournament. The best thing about taekwondo for me is that you always have a room for achievement be a belt or an important trophy. Tireless practice was the way I could polish my taekwondo techniques and learn a number of excellent tricks. That is why by the moment I entered the State Championship for Taekwondo, I had been filled with confidence in my unique mastery and hoped to get the trophy. Yet, everything turned out badly for me. Within a few difficult rounds and really good punches, I became totally exhausted. What was worse, I felt I was unable to go on anymore. To make matters worse, the opponent that I had to fight next was a famous taekwondo expert who went by the nickname Namkung.
Namkung had arrived from South Korea aiming to fight endlessly and, of course, to win the first prize at the tournament. When I came closer to him in order to greet the opponent, I was able to feel that there was something unpleasant and troublesome about Namkung. He appeared to be ruthless, utterly careless and fully determined to win. Once the fight started I was doing my best to defend my body from the energetic blows of the adversary, however with little success. Surely, I was too weak to effectively block Namkung’s attacks during a lengthy period. Out of a sudden, inspired by his aim to be a victor in the bout, Namkung threw a really powerful kick that targeted my abdomen. When I tried to immediately block his forceful attack and placed my hand in front of my body in order to stop it, it somehow resulted in my elbow being shattered.
The tournament doctor arrived just in a few minutes. He declared that there was no way for me to continue and that I was to be transferred to the hospital as quickly as possible. That was how I was made to leave the tournament. Needless to say, it was a big failure. By the way, Namkung, left the taekwondo tournament for serious health reasons, too. Maybe, he was absolutely distressed. As for myself, I was taught a good life lesson. Now I think that this life experience was a way for me mature and train my character.
The taekwondo tournament failure taught me an invaluable life lesson. I was forced to face the challenge of either choosing to quit the martial arts or start to invest more effort in taekwondo training. At the point, I had to carefully weigh the two options and take a valid decision. When I looked at the possible options, I came to realize that the real failure was in quitting my taekwondo classes. Vice versa, to continue for me meant to be successful. Despite the fact that after my accident, I was to undergo a few surgeries, I used all my determination and opted for the second. I found that I was hardly afraid of any failures that day and said thanks to my taekwondo defeat for it helped to unleash my inner strength. I believe that my experience could help other people to overcome their fear of failure.
- Villarosa, C. (2011). The words of African-American heroes. Newmarket Press.