My dad taught me to snow ski when 1 was 6 years old. By the time 1 was 8,1 was skiing on my own. At the end of a full ski day, 1 eagerly announced, "Dad, I didn't fall once all day!" My dad replied, "1f you didn't fall, you didn't get any better." What? This was the opposite response 1 was expecting and hoping for. The bewildered look on my face compelled him to elaborate, "If you are going to get better, you have to push yourself. If you push yourself, you are going to fall."
My dad was a former university football coach, so we had a full Olympic standard weight set in our garage. On the wall he had painted, "No Pain, No Gain." To build bigger muscles, you have to inflict pain on them, literally tearing down the fibers of the muscles and bringing them to the point of failure. That's actually the goal. Then in recovery, the fibers will rebuild bigger and stronger than they were before. Building a muscle is a lot like the process of building success in life.
I owe much of the success 1 have been able to achieve to my dad and this philosophy. My dad taught me it was not only OK to fail, but it was proof you were improving. I never saw setbacks, obstacles, rejection or even pain as things to avoid; rather, they were markers on the journey toward greatness and should be appreciated, even celebrated.
This issue is packed full of real-life examples of those who, because of obstacles and setbacks, became stronger and, ultimately, more successful. Les Brown (page 68), who was born in an abandoned garage, given up by his mother at 6 weeks old and labeled "educable mentally retarded," rose to become one of the most celebrated personal-development speakers of our time. Wilma Rudolph (page 74) was...