Last night I told my son and daughter it was time to
go outside for exercise.
We often do a lap or two around the block – it’s nearly a mile –
and the jaunt often includes a combination of sprints, backward
running, and so on.
Last night the kids were tired and didn’t want to go.
So I tricked them into the workout by grabbing a couple Chinese
tai chi racquets and some balls that we could use along the way.
Suddenly exercise wasn’t such a dreadful thing.
When we finished our lap we stopped in the street and played “catch
and fetch.” The kids throw me the ball. I catch it. Then I throw it about 20
meters so they have to race each other to fetch it.
After awhile Frank decided he wanted to work on juggling a couple balls.
Being he’s new to the practice, he kept dropping the ball. At first it was no
big deal to him, but after it happened about 21 times, he started to get
“I keep making mistakes,” he complained.
“That’s good,” I replied.
“But I don’t like to make mistakes,” he said.
“I know,” I said. “Making mistakes feels like it’s a bad thing
when you’re learning something new, but it’s not. By the way,
did I ever tell you the story of Thomas Edison.”
“No, who’s that?”
“Well, Thomas Edison was the man who invented the light bulb.
100 years or so ago, we didn’t have lights like we do today. But
this guy, Thomas Edison, he wanted to invent one so that we
could read at night.”
“Yeah, and how’d he invent the light bulb?” Frank asked.
“By making mistakes,” I replied. “In fact, did you know that he
made 10,000 mistakes when trying to invent the light bulb. He
tried 10,000 times and failed every time. But he eventually
succeeded because he didn’t quit.”
I paused for a moment, squatted so that I was eye-to-eye with
my son, then I continued. “You have only made 21 mistakes so
far in learning how to juggle. You’ve got a long way to go to reach
Thomas Edison. So I don’t want to hear another complaint until
you’ve hit that number.”
Frank got the message and started to practice again. Not a murmur
from him either.
I am always astounded when I see the number of people who, as
adults, whine and moan about how tough they have it. They begin
an exercise program and if they haven’t lost all their flab in a few
days, they lose heart. Or they begin a weight loss regimen and if
they only lose a couple pounds the first week, they get depressed.
The easily discouraged need to remember that success is a journey.
You get where you want to go in life by practice; by practicing good
thoughts that lead to good habits. Problem with most people is that
they lack a success consciousness. Upon making their first mistake
they see failure.
But the success conscious person thinks and acts in a totally different
Upon making a mistake, the success conscious person realizes he’s one
mistake closer to figuring out the right way to do something; he’s one
step closer to creating what he wants.
Focus on what you want – then train each and every day to bring it into
Be not discouraged. Stay the course. The only way you can fail to get the
results you want is if you mentally weaken. So toughen up on the inside
and you’ll eventually hit the target.
Kick butt – take names,
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all the mistakes you’ve made by following other exercise programs.
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