Understanding Success and Failure

NPR (5/1/23): Why an NBA star’s response to a reporter’s question about losing hit a nerve

Some excerpts:

Antetokounmpo, after being asked if he considered the past season a failure:

Do you get a promotion every year at your job? No, right? So every year, your work is a failure? No. Every year, you work towards something, which is a goal: It’s to get a promotion, to be able to take care of your family, provide a house for them, or take care of your parents. It’s not a failure, it’s steps to success. There’s always steps to it. Michael Jordan played for 15 years and won 6 championships. The other 9 years were a failure? That’s what you’re telling me.

There’s no failure in sports. There’s good days, bad days, some days you are able to be successful, some days you’re not, some days it’s your turn, some days it’s not your turn. That’s what sport’s about. You don’t always win, some other people are gonna win. And this year, someone else is gonna win. Simple as that. 

So 50 years from 1971-2021 that we didn’t win a championship, it was 50 years of failure? No it was not, there were steps to it, and we were able to win one, hopefully we can win another one.

Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti’s reaction:

What Antetokounmpo said was fantastic … Failure is when you don’t try to do something as well as you can. When you try to do your best, you have a clear conscience, and that’s never a failure, not just in sport but in life.

My take: I like Giannis’ response so much (there’s a 2 minute video at the link). His sentiments align with my beliefs. If/when I work hard, this often leads to good outcomes. However, even if the outcome is not what I wanted, I have no regrets.

“When You Reach for the Stars You May Not Quite Get One, But You Won’t Come Up With a Handful of Mud Either” – Leo Burnett