The value of failure

published Mar 25, 2017

You can't succeed without failing first.

The value of failure

I used to hate exercising; not only did many types of exercise literally hurt, I was also afraid of "looking bad" when I met with failure.

Then I realized that being healthier was more important than those problems.

Since I started weight training, I've been very carefully tracking my outcomes.  After all, you can't improve what you can't measure. 

The good news: as of today, I am officially stronger than I have ever been.  I've more than doubled my strength in a mere 21 sessions, even overcoming a setback from my travel weeks in February.

Now, you may think "these numbers are all really modest, I'm not sure why he's so happy about" — and you might even be right.  Nonetheless, for me, this is a truly remarkable accomplishment.  It isn't just "an accomplishment" — it's really only the beginning.  The trend lines don't lie.

Naturally, as you can see in the picture below, the situation isn't all roses and wine.  I have been stuck at certain weights in some exercises.  Failure to finish some sets (in orange and red) is very evident in this data set:

But, you see, failure isn't an excuse to stop trying.  On the contrary — failure is literally how 5x5 is meant to be used: you add weight and keep trying and failing to lift it, until you succeed, then you add more weight.

Here's the most valuable lesson I drew from doing this: the only way to get to success, is by repeatedly failing until you succeed.

Thanks to 5x5, I am not afraid of failure anymore.