Failing to achieve our goals does not come down to a single, cataclysmic event. Failing to achieve our goals is the inevitable result of an accumulation of poor thinking and poor choices overtime. To put it more simply, failure is nothing more than a few errors in judgment repeated every day.
Why would we make an error in judgment and then be so foolish as to repeat it every day? The answer is because we don’t think it matters.
Individually, we do not view our choices as being that important. At most it’s a minor oversight, a simple poor decision. It may be a waste of an hour here or a choice not to train there. Could be that we believe we deserve this time to watch TV, instead of reading. It could be that always executing proper technique in a drill isn’t all that important. This generally doesn’t result in an instant and measurable impact. More often than not, we escape from any immediate consequences of our deeds.
If we have not bothered to plan out and execute our training plan for the next 30 days, this lack of discipline doesn’t seem to have any immediate impact on our lives. And since nothing drastic happened to us after the first thirty days, we repeat this error in judgment for another thirty days, and so continues the cycle. Why? It doesn’t seem to matter. Herein lays the great delusion. What’s far worse is not even realizing that it matters!
Those who eat poorly are contributing to future health problems, but the joy of the moment overshadows the consequence of the future, it does not seem to matter. Those who skip training or give half efforts do not see immediate feedback, so it doesn’t really matter. Those who choose to watch mind numbing TV instead of investing time in continued education do not see the immediate loss of knowledge, therefore it doesn’t really matter.
The pain and regret of these errors in judgment have only been delayed for a future time. Consequences are seldom instant; instead, they accumulate until the inevitable day of reckoning finally arrives and the price must be paid for our poor choices—choices that didn’t seem to matter.
Failure’s most dangerous attribute is its subtlety. In the short term those little errors don’t seem to make any difference. We do not seem to be failing. In fact, sometimes these accumulated errors in judgment occur throughout a period of great joy and prosperity in our lives. Since nothing terrible happens to us, since there are no instant consequences to capture our attention, we simply drift from one day to the next, repeating the errors, thinking the wrong thoughts, listening to the wrong voices and making the wrong choices. The sky did not fall in on us yesterday; therefore the act was probably harmless.
When the day of reckoning finally does come, many fall into the trap of self-pity. We must become better self aware then that!