Why You Should Never Forget Your Failures

The 1983 college basketball season was over. Duke University had just been clobbered by 43 points in the ACC tournament. Everything about the Duke basketball program was a disaster and many people thought young coach Mike Krzyzewski was at the end of his short career as a coach. In the book “Herding Tigers,” Todd Henry tells what happened next:

“At dinner that night, someone raised his glass and said, “Here’s to forgetting about tonight.” Coach K stopped him and ordered him to put his glass down. Then he raised his own glass and said, “Here’s to never forgetting about tonight.” The following season, when the team arrived on October 15 for the first practice, the scoreboard over the court read 109-66, the final score of the tournament loss to Virginia. Players recounted how Coach K wanted them never to forget how it felt to get beat so thoroughly and to use it as fuel to give their best every day. Since that day, Duke has emerged as a premier basketball program, and Coach K largely points to that defining moment as the turning point.”

Stop for a moment and remember your most embarrassing, humiliating, regrettable failure. Think about how much it hurt, and what it cost you. Write it down, or put it on the wall.

Never forget that moment, because you never want to experience it again.


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