I have a friend named Arnie Bellini.
Last week, he set out to swim the English Channel. It is a daunting task – over 23 miles from the Cliffs of Dover across a massive shipping lane to France. There are very strong currents. The water temperature is between 50 and 60 degrees. It can take 12 to 15 hours, depending on conditions. You don’t even try it without months of training and preparation.
Arnie is almost as old as I am. I am not really sure what he was thinking but, when I heard he was going to try it, I was filled with admiration and was inspired.
We could monitor his progress on the internet. After 13 hours, Arnie was exhausted and had to call a halt to the attempt.
I was still inspired. I was more so when Arnie sent the following note to his colleagues and friends who were rooting him on:
“I had a blast. Right now, my body doesn’t agree, but I thoroughly enjoyed every minute. I went and went and went and went. I think that was the first time I put it all on the line, had nothing left, and then kept going. Life is like that sometimes, and that’s OK. This time my best was not good enough, no problem, I am already reloading, recalibrating and learning from my failure.
I love the Michael Jordan quote…
‘I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.’
…and totally believe I too have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. It’s how we teach our children to learn, or at least it should be; and it’s how we should tackle our jobs, run our companies, and live our lives.
It’s also why we will always WIN, always GROW, always have FUN, and always feel great PRIDE in the remarkable contributions we each individually make to create the dream world that can exist!”
I sent Arnie a note after I learned that he hadn’t made it across. I told him that he was a great man to have made the attempt and that I admired him. Made me want to stretch a bit farther.
Failure isn’t fatal. We learn from efforts that aren’t initially successful. Arnie says he is already making plans to try again.