This weekend I watched a lot of college basketball games. With the start of March Madness I needed to get my fill of all the great games and potential upsets (and watch my bracket fall apart in the process). But it is easy to say that the best was saved for last. The game between Purdue and Kansas was a hard-fought and competitive battle down to the last seconds. Kansas trailed the majority of the game, only taking a lead with less than a minute left in the game.

Now, this is not a ESPN recap of that game. But what stuck me and stayed with me throughout the night was the post-game interview of a Kansas player, Elijah Johnson. The CBS reporter asked Elijah about previous games during the regular season in which Kansas lost. The reporter brought up past failures and losses, asking how they lost those games, and reminding this Kansas basketball star about tough defeats. Elijah Johnson responded with one of the wisest and simplest answer that I have heard in awhile.

When asked about past failures and defeats…basically, “why did you guy mess up then and not now?” he responded with:

I was learning. I was learning.”  (click for video)

Interview over. Awesome answer. There is never an end to learning. Especially after defeats and failures since these are the greatest opportunities to truly find knowledge and insight that will ultimately lead to success.

Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden wrote this about learning: “Always be learning, acquiring knowledge, and seeking wisdom with a sense that you are immortal and that you will need much knowledge and wisdom for that long journey ahead. Know that when you are through learning, you are through.”

So a couple of tough regular season losses for Kansas University helped prepare the basketball team for Sunday night’s victory. They learned from their mistakes and used those leasons to improve. They did not dwell on the past. They grew stronger because of those past failures.

How can you take prior defeats (on and off the court) and use those lessons to improve?

Maybe “failing” on your last diet can teach you a better way to achieve good nutrition habits.

Maybe the pain of starting new exercise programs can help teach you how to stay consistent and see greater results over time.

We all can improve and remind ourselves that those past failures were simply times that “we were learning”.

Remember this the next time you think you have lost…because it will be a greater opportunity for future growth and success!

~With Strength & Nutrition

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