Monday 110523

2011 CrossFit Games Regional WOD #1 

For time:

Run 1000 meters
30 Handstand push-ups
Row 1000 meters

Post time to comments.
Verve Saturdays include WOD's, BBQ's, and handstand shennanigans.

“Winning.”  It’s most often what our gigantic society touts as successful: we celebrate winning teams, winning athletes, winning business entrepreneurs, winning, winning, winning.  

But when did it become everything?  When we were growing up, I was always told, “Winning’s not everything, it’s just important that you do your best.”  Or, “It’s how you play the game.”  As a kid growing up, sure you learned to importance of focus and practice, but when you failed you were encouraged to pick yourself up, learn from it, and  “try, try, try again.”  Somewhere along the transition into adulthood, the importance of that lesson has gotten lost along the way.  We’ve become traumatized by mistakes. “Epic FAIL” is part of our vocabulary, we’ve become stigmatized, jolted by being tested publicly and falling behind.  

Yet many of the most successful people will tell you the value of failing early and failing often.  In fact, the Dutch have embraced it so much, they have an Institute of Brilliant Failures that grew out of research into failed business ventures.  Being able to embrace these failures, discuss them in a public forum, and learn from them provides a sense of relief and allows you to move forward.  

“Now, the Institute’s website is a place where anyone can nominate a failure — in business, art, science, and any other area.  Of course, we’re not talking about “tripping over a shoelace” kind of stuff.  Brilliance, in failing, has to meet certain criteria.

“What we define as a brilliant failure is something that has been tried with very good intentions,” says Paul Iske.

“And at the moment people had to make decisions, and of course they experienced something very different from what they tried to achieve. That’s the failure part.”

The brilliant part is that we can learn something from it, and in the worst case scenario you learn well, this is not the way to do it. And in the best case you learn something that you didn’t even expect.

Iske’s favorite example of this kind of serendipity is Viagra, which was originally developed as a heart medication. It is winner, though, due to its, well, side effects.”

Whether in everyday life, or CrossFit–we’ve all experienced a brilliant failure….or two…or three.  Last year, somehow I had the well-intentioned thought that I could somehow do 100reps of 65# thrusters faster than 100 burpees–boy was I wrong, and embarrassed.  Or I think of Matt’s wheelbarrow event at the World Games last summer, which he had planned out carefully, but it tipped precariously in the arena.  But we pick up, and keep moving on.  

“People do not feel the freedom to experiment that we had as children,” says Paul Iske. “When children fail, we all applaud, and say okay, you learned something … and somehow we lose that tolerance when people grow up.

Iske says his research shows that the first step toward reclaiming that childlike freedom to fail is laughter.

The next time you screw up, he says, "You can start by laughing it off.”

Share with us your own brilliant failure.


  1. Jeff K :

    Great posting.
    Here is an excellent inspirational video done by Honda on the Success of failure.

  2. Jim Duwve :


  3. David S :

    15:11 RX

  4. Cherie :

    Joy Joy I remember you doing those thrusters! I love the part about laughing it off.
    I’ve had so many brilliant failures and I am happy to have had them all!

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