A simple pass changed the directory of Ben Simmons' career.
Now, this wasn't an ordinary pass. Heck, this pass was successfully completed. But it's the fact that Ben passed when he shouldn't have.
Let me explain.
On June 20, 2021, the Philadelphia 76ers were playing against the Atlanta Hawks. Whoever wins gets to go to the NBA's Eastern Conference Finals.
The majority of the game was a close score.
And with roughly three minutes and thirty seconds left, Ben Simmons' 76ers are down by two points. And Ben has the opportunity to even the score with a straightforward and uncontested dunk. But he sees a significantly shorter Hawks player make a last-ditch but futile effort to defend him.
Believe it or not, Ben panics.
And he passed the ball to a teammate who had to make a difficult shot that missed.
The basketball world was shocked.
They couldn't believe Ben did not take the easy shot. Which proved costly as the 76ers lost the game, and Ben became the NBA's laughingstock.
To this day, Ben Simmons' career and reputation have not fully recovered. And in many cases, it has gotten worse.
His career might be defined by that one mistake.
Unlike Ben Simmons, our mistakes won't be as high stakes. In fact, they will be some of the best investments you make while learning.
However, many of us rarely make the most of our mistakes. And the reason for that is due to viewing errors in a poor manner.
For some reason, mistakes/errors are viewed poorly.
It seems that there is minimal room for mistakes in the pursuit of accomplishing goals.
And this pernicious myth is propagated through the media. Whether it's through business news or social media. All we see is people hitting perfection like it's normal.
But the thing is, it's not normal.
In fact, everyone makes mistakes. It's just that they don't mention it. As the saying goes, 'Nobody likes to know how the sausage is made.'
And although it doesn't seem like a big deal how mistakes are viewed. The thing is, it affects us far more profoundly than we can imagine.
The wrong view on mistakes can hinder us from taking action.
Since we think we must be perfect and smooth, any error will be deemed a disaster.
So we plan and plan, but this only handicaps us from taking any action. Since not taking any action equates to making no mistakes.
Yet, this leaves us stuck.
Never really pushing ourselves outside our comfort womb and exploring our potential. But if we are serious about fulfilling our potential, we must start viewing mistakes as gifts.
Now, that seems corny.
How can mistakes be gifts?
They do it by teaching you.
When you make errors, it's not just an error but a deepening of your understanding. By taking consistent action and making various mistakes, you will understand what you pursue much deeper with nuances.
As James Joyce once said: "A man's errors are his portals of discovery."
This is why changing how we view errors/mistakes is crucial. We need to be open to learning via action. And over time, we become people who have experienced life and accomplished things far beyond our dreams.
If we're being honest.
This is how a lot of success is reached: A constant drive to learn from our mistakes which helps us refine our approach until we hit the jackpot.
Because of the fear of failure or coming off as a fool, many of us are afraid to make an attempt in life. The novel Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky puts it aptly:
"Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most."
But you're not going to fall for the trap.
You're going to allow yourself to take new steps, and yes, you will fall here and there. But you will be much farther than trying to map out the perfect route.
As your views on mistakes/errors change, so will your view on success.
The best way to view success is...Actually, let me get Winston Churchill to briefly explain it: "Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."
Life is not smooth.
There are bumps, setbacks, and heartbreak. Yet, we think we can accomplish our goals and dreams in a perfect way.
To get anything worthwhile in life, we must be willing to consistently make mistakes and fail. Learning along the way with the same zest for life as before. And sooner or later, you'll be surprised to reach your goal.
A lot of life and success is being persistent and willing to learn. When you see that NBA player taking a game-winning shot, remember he took hundreds of thousands of shots to perfect it. And he could still miss as many have.
The next time you see a great book, realize there were countless rejected manuscripts. And even though the book is popular, it may have failed when it was first published.
Life is a journey.
And by giving ourselves the liberty to make mistakes and learn, we can create a masterpiece with our lives.
Then again, some of you might think I'm just a cornball, and you prefer to take the sophisticated approach of ample preparations.
As much as we think we can prepare ourselves, we can only truly prepare ourselves by getting our elbows dirty and messing things up. Learning from your mistakes is far more beneficial than reading about them. Mistakes become intuitive and vital knowledge (if that makes sense). Whereas knowledge from books is sterile.
For instance, you can read about shooting a basketball. But unless you grab a ball and shoot it (and miss), that's when you will get a better understanding.
However, with all that said.
There are a few instances where preparing and researching are essential. But these are cases where mistakes are irreversible, like things involving health, substantial financial resources, etc. But if your errors are not fatal, then you should welcome them.
Just like Henry Cejudos.
One of the most amazing MMA fights I've seen was Cejudo vs Moraes. This fight was for the vacant bantamweight championship. And is an excellent example of benefitting from mistakes.
Moraes is kicking the living daylights out of Cejudo's legs through the entire round. And it looked as if Cejudo's legs were compromised. At the end of the round, Cejudo's coaches let him know he was staying in the range of Moraes' kicks for way too long.
The round starts off the same, with Moraes kicking Cejudo. But Cejudo makes the adjustments and starts clinching with Moraes. By taking away the distance, Moreas couldn't kick Cejudo. And Cejudo was able to brawl better in the clinch than Moraes. Giving the latter a beat down.
Cejudo closes the distance again with clinching. But takes Moraes to the ground, where he knocks him out via ground and pound.
The biggest takeaway is that Cejudo found the key to his victory through his errors in Round 1. Those errors enlightened him on what he had to do to adjust and eventually win. If Cejudo had believed that his mistakes made him a failure, he would have lost much sooner.
As James Joyce said, 'our errors are the portals of discovery.'
However, mistakes can't be the treasure of knowledge if we have no goal to begin with
One of the things with learning from mistakes
Is that we must first ensure we have a goal/dream in place.
This is crucial.
Otherwise, it's hard to learn if we don't know which direction we are aiming at. As Aristotle said: "Are we not more likely to achieve our aim if we have a target?" When we have a target, every mistake we learn from will help us get closer to it.
Think of it like darts.
When you're throwing darts at the board and miss. You get a sense of how you need to adjust for the next shot, where you eventually get a bullseye. But getting better at throwing darts would be problematic without a dartboard.
So again, to make the most of your mistakes, have something to pursue. And to help you get the most out of this article, let's wrap it up.
Mistakes are falsely viewed as wrong.
With a poor view of mistakes, we hinder ourselves by not taking action and robbing ourselves of learning opportunities.
The proper way to view mistakes is by looking at them as ways to learn much deeper.
Success is all about learning from our mistakes until we hit our goals.
Some people will prefer to prepare rather than make mistakes. However, mistakes give you vital knowledge compared to the sterile knowledge of reading about them.
The only time you should be wary of making mistakes is in areas that are not reversible, like health, serious finances, etc.
The only time learning from your mistakes is futile is if you have no goal in place. You can only know and adjust when you are aiming for something.
Mistakes are valuable.
And I hope this article shows you that. Because in life, we will make many of them, and we need to know how to use them to our advantage.
And if we're being honest, most people who accomplished a lot will tell you that mistakes are some of the best things that happened to them. The only person that would disagree is Ben Simmons.