There are two entirely different individuals. One is extremely athletic with significant experience in sports. The other is out of shape and has never played in any sports seriously before.
Now take both of those individuals and introduce them to Brazilian Jiu-jitsu at the same time and at the same gym. Inspire in them a passion for the art and watch how they grow.
Let’s say that 6 months passed. Which one of those individuals would mostly likely progress the most? There is an obvious assumption to make. Whether it’s true or not doesn’t matter so much.
Now a local tournament is coming up, and their gym is really beating the drum trying to build up interest. So both decide to sign up, and they significantly increase the amount of time and effort they devote to training.
More time passes. The tournament is quickly approaching. They’re both improving even at times when it isn’t quite so apparent.
Then finally the day arrives.
It’s finally time to put it all to the test. They go out there, revved up, and they both……… get smashed, utterly and completely.
It’s a demoralizing event. No one likes losing. It hurts, especially when you know that you put forth every effort to succeed.
Both of these individuals suffer the same crushing defeat. There is one thing that is different between them though. It’s how they choose to respond.
The Different Responses
The Athlete chooses to rationalize the lost. They focus on factors that were outside of their control like the time that their opponent has been training. They choose not to analyze themselves to discover specific areas that they can improve in their skillset and mindset.
The Average Joe chooses to learn from the lost. They focus on factors that they can directly influence to improve their performance in the future. They spend time thinking about how they can shape their training in the future to fix the issues that they noticed in their match.
Things to Note
In this thought experiment, it is assumed that all factors are equal except the starting points of each individual and how they chose to respond to failure. Also there is no causal relationship between what each individual is classified as and the response they chose.
The roles and responses could have easily been reversed.