I was thinking about the difference between success and failure and this song came on my I-pod to inspire this post. A quick Google search says that a vanishing point is where the parallel lines on objects converge and I think the same thinking can be applied to success and failure also.

There’s a phrase that goes something like “nothing succeeds like failure” where basically your chances of winning are significantly improved the more times you try. A bit like the more shots you take, the more goals you will score. Sounds logical, right?

I also think that the reverse is true and that nothing fails like success.

Are you still with me?

Basically, success breeds confidence and for a while the feeling that winning brings will be enough to maintain standards. After a while though, success can start to soften the desire to compete. People or teams can become complacent; they’ll start to believe their own hype. Success will breed failure.

If you think about any great sportsman or team in history, both of these rules ring true. They only achieved success by failing, by practicing their skills and techniques daily, they improved their abilities. Also, though at some point success turned to failure. Complacency set in or others practiced harder and created a new standard for success.

There are some obvious exceptions to this rule. If you think about Sir Stephen Redgrave winning 5 Olympic gold medals, the Liverpool football teams of the 70s and 80s, the Manchester United teams of the 90s and 00s and the Australian Rugby League team since the 70s. They managed to achieve the highest level of success and maintain it over a sustained period of time. At times other people or teams will have beaten them in games or races but consistently over a period of time they were/are able to re-commit to that standard of excellence required of them and achieve success all over again.

So, success and failure are to parallel lines running towards a single point in the distance, a vanishing point, which is separated along the way only by practice and commitment on one side and complacency on the other.

Practice hard, commit yourself to success and when you feel complacency setting in don’t worry, it happens to everyone, just re-commit yourself and practice even harder to pass back through the vanishing point towards success once again.

….And if you need a picture to help you visualise this, just think about Sir Steve and his 5 Olympic gold medals.