I still remember watching my buddy Kevin land flat on his back, after missing a huge box jump.
Splat, right on the grass, as we were working outdoors.
If I were recording it, it would have made for an amazing ‘gym fail’, right?
The only thing is — I wasn’t laughing. Neither was he.
He was trying his hardest to set a new personal best in terms of height on that jump. We had an understanding that we would push each other hard, and work our asses off every session. In fact, we recorded each other succeeding, rather than failing.
Check out what we did.
He got back up, dusted himself off, clearly upset and ended up leaving. That day just wasn’t his day to stick the landing.
And it got me thinking — why do we celebrate other people’s failures?
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve watched a few gym fails in my day — and the ones that make me chuckle are the ones where the equipment fails, not the person.
When a resistance band snaps mid rep, or when a bench topples over. That kind of stuff.
But I will never laugh when someone films another person, especially without their knowledge, struggling with form or not understanding how to use a piece of equipment.
Laughing at their inexperience is mortifying and extremely disrespectful. At least they’re there trying to improve themselves. I can’t stand people who think they know about the other person.
Maybe this is their first time. Maybe they have a medical or mental condition that limits their mobility. Put down the phone and go lift them up. Tell them they’re doing a great job and make them feel successful. Or, if they’re potentially going to injure themselves, then tell the gym staff.
Our ego gets in the way of allowing us to help people feel successful. And when they feel like they’ve done something wrong, there’s a good chance they’ll never come back, missing the chance to work on self-improvement.
With my buddy Kev, we moved on to something else and the next time we tried those jumps, he set his record. But it was through encouraging one another and not dwelling on a minor bump that didn’t allow him to succeed. Some days you will fail, but we need to stop making that a reason for not coming back. Failure is part of the journey, and it proves that you’re human. It’s only one day of failure vs. hundreds more of success.
And trust me, I’ve failed too. I can’t count how many times I dropped a dumbbell on my toe, or tripped on an agility ladder or even fallen off my water rower. But no one was over top of me, recording it and then publishing it for the world to see.
Lifting weights is great. But lifting others is even better.