It is natural to feel a fear of failure and mistakes and easy to say we need to get over it. But recently we saw how greatness and failure are intricately intertwined. Los Angeles Lakers superstar shooting guard Kobe Bryant, playing in his 19th NBA season, became the all-time leader in missed shots in the NBA a week ago when he missed his 13,418th shot. No one in the history of the NBA has missed this many shots and no one will probably ever miss more. One of the greatest players in the history of the game will be the player who has failed the most.
After the game, Bryant explained his role and career longevity played a part in all of his misses as well as his willingness to take a lot of shots and live with them if he misses. His philosophy about failing in big moments:
“It’s basketball. I’ve practiced and practiced and played so many times. There’s nothing truly to be afraid of, when you think about it…I wake up the next morning, and I’m OK.”
The next four players with the most misses are all Hall of Famers, including Michael Jordan whose Nike commercial on failure is worth watching:
Obviously there are different sorts of failures – there are different stakes for a neurosurgeon, a jet pilot and a shooting guard. And yet early on, even in the most serious domains, failures were necessary and often to discover, reveal, invent, and achieve our greatest successes.
How often do you allow your fear of missing keep you from success? What failures have you had that have generated success? What would happen if you doubled your rate of failure in the area you are most adept and skilled? If you had your life to live over would you dare to make more mistakes?
To fail as often and as long as Kobe you have to be pretty great!
Irwin Kula is the co-founder and co-executive editor of The Wisdom Daily. A rabbi, Irwin’s writing has been featured in The Huffington Post and the Washington Post. He is the author of Yearnings: Embracing the Sacred Messiness of Life and a co-editor of The Book of Jewish Sacred Practices. Irwin has appeared on NBC’s The Today Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, The O’Reilly Factor and PBS Frontline. Irwin also serves as President Emeritus of Clal, The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership, a leadership training institute, think tank and resource center in New York City.