Failure: It’s Good for the Soul


Failure: It’s Good for the Soul


Greg Glassman once said that people require three essential skills to thrive and survive:

  1. Move – Be able to move, remain mobile and get yourself from A to B. The loss of mobility as we age is a major determinant in people losing their independence and quality of life.
  2. Swim – The majority of the planet is water — a few inches is all it takes to drown a person — so how about being able to handle yourself in it? (We do live on an island.)
  3. Fight — Or more accurately, be able to defend yourself (or your family) and get out of danger.

I think he got it 75% right, but in my opinion he missed one — probably the most important one.

The ability to adapt.

Now I’m not talking about some crazy Darwinian capability to suddenly grow gills because the West Antarctic ice shelf just slipped off. I’m talking about the mental capacity to realise that all is not going to plan… and to deal with it.
The ability to adapt is a mental skill. It’s emotional, even visceral. And whilst it may rely on physical capabilities, the reality is that your mind is driving the bus. So how the hell do I train “my ability to adapt”?More leg days? Run more? More motivational YouTube videos?

Nope, personally I’ve found the best way to develop an ability to adapt is to fail.

“…Tell me the truth and I’ll believe you, tell me a fact and I’ll listen, but tell me a story and I’ll remember….”

So let me tell you a story.

In 2003 I was running multiple businesses and working ridiculous hours. I needed a break, preferably somewhere with no phone reception or email. Kathmandu sounded exotic and remote — that was literally my entire criteria. I booked a holiday and a trek because it sounded cool and the lower Himalayas didn’t have 3G reception. A two-week trek up to a Buddhist monastery at the foothills of the Himalayas.” Continued…