Learning from wipe-outs

Over the weekend I had the privilege of hanging out with twelve of my best friends from Clemson. They flew in for MLK weekend, and we spent our time skiing and boarding up in the mountains at Breckenridge.

If you spend any time on the slopes there is one phrase you will hear a lot:

I didn’t fall this time!

I started wondering — is that really the best we can do? Is staying on your feet the best metric of success?

Sure, I could get down most slopes without falling — so why do I fall so much? I’d rather go through some brutal wipe-outs and and improve my snowboarding skills than risk becoming stagnant in my ability.

You might argue that the experience is a lot less enjoyable if you spend most of it on your face in the snow. Why not recognize your limitations and have a good time on the bunny slopes? You have a pretty valid argument. The only problem is this: you’ll spend the rest of your life on the bunny slopes. You’ll never know what it’s like to push yourself and actually succeed. Sure there will be frustration in between, but it might just be worth it.

What about you? Are you continually pushing the envelope and trying new things or are you content setting the bar just high enough not to get hurt?

Is it worth it?