A friend recently went with her kids to a driving range. She’s not a golfer — you can tell by the 17-second video that one of her kids posted. But that’s not what matters.
On her first swing, she squares up to the ball perfectly. Head down, hands holding the club just right, feet even, everything in proper alignment. She slowly brings the club back and brings it forward.
WHOOSH! Swing and a miss.
But that’s not what matters.
She immediately laughs at her off-the-mark swing, gets back into her stance, puts the head of the club down, raises it back and takes another, better swing.
WHACK! The ball flies off. How far it travels isn’t what matters.
Watching the video was a good reminder of something we all know, but easily forget. We have those moments when we can‘t seem to knock the ball off the tee, no matter how many times we swing or how hard we try.
Life is about taking our swings, laughing at our misses and swinging again. We’re all amateurs. Everyone has a lot to learn.
That’s true no matter how much we‘ve experienced. Even the best golfers hit shots into the crowd, into the pond, into the rough, into the trees. The best hitters in baseball fail seven times out of 10. Pro Bowl quarterbacks overshoot their targets and throw interceptions. All-Star hockey players miss the open net. The most amazing dancers occasionally stumble on a step.
Those moments occur despite the athletes’ great talent and their many, many hours of practice with the best coaches and teachers. That’s just how it is.
There’s another side of it, too. Those misses are an important — and potentially fun — part of the process.
Think of it: If a baseball player got a hit every time up, the game would go on endlessly and soon become boring (and pitchers would get paid a lot less). If a defensive back always knocked the Hail Mary pass away in the end zone, there would no fantastic finish. If a pitcher never let one slip, there would be no walk-off home runs and memorable home-plate celebrations.
Our failures sometimes produce far more interesting results than those times when everything goes as planned.
Pick any area of life and you‘ll find a lot of learning from mistakes. We get advice and give it our best swing. Many times, we fail to connect.
But that’s OK. Everyone else does the same thing. It’s important just to settle back into our stance and give it another swing.
And to laugh in-between our many misses.