The Benefit Of Failure

The Benefit Of Failure

Andy Dear | Monday, 1 November 2021

Failure is an inescapable part of life and a critically important part of any successful life.

---Tal Ben Shahar

  Last night, Jackson and I were painfully reminded how important failure is in the pursuit of success. For the first time in a long time, Jackson missed a shot at a sizable Whitetail buck. Although this is not the first time he has missed a deer, it had been quite some time since it last happened. After the hunt, I lyed awake in bed thinking about the nature of failure, and how important it is to learn to deal with it in order to have and appreciate successful life. I started Jackson so young in the outdoor sports of hunting and fishing, not because I had a grand plan of allowing him to experience failure in order to accelerate his maturity, but I will say, that has been a very fortunate side effect.

  As it relates to angling, Jackson has probably caught more Redfish on a fly, than most grown men have. But, I have also watched him have some heartbreaking defeats in the process. I have always believed that what defines a person is equal parts of how they react to both their successes and their failures. Two years ago, Capt. Freddy Lynch poled Jackson up on a Redfish that would have broken the State youth fly rod record by at least 25 pounds, and could have potentially been an all fly state record as well. It was a stud of a fish...45 inches or better for sure. Jack made a textbook cast, and the fish ate. And when I say ate, that fish ATE, with a focused aggression and intent not seen in his smaller slot-sized brethren. When that fish figured out he was hooked he made a primary run that cause the fly line on the deck of the boat to fly several feet up in the air, causing a small loop to become wrapped around the fighting butt. In less than just a few seconds, the tippet broke and the fish was gone. It was a rookie mistake of being too focused on the size of the fish, and not being able to concentrate on the details of the process of getting the fish on the reel through proper line management. We were all heartbroken over the loss of this fish, Freddy and I more so than Jackson! However, we all agreed that this was an opportunity to learn multiple lessons from the mistake and move forward.

  Since then, we've cast to several more fish of this size, none of which have eaten. But, I can tell you that the dozens of fish Jack has brought to hand in the 10-12 pound range since then have not been able to exploit a deficit in attention to line management. That part of the equation is simply no longer a weak link in the chain of processes that are required to land a record sized fish.

 Last night was discouraging for both of us. My family relies pretty heavily on the harvesting of wild fish and game for sustenance throughout the year, and last night's miss was disappointing on many levels for all of us. However, I know that these kinds of failures should not only be expected but REQUIRED in any pursuit. Whether it's hunting, fishing, education, professional occupation, or relationships, my belief has always been and will continue to be, that it's the failures that make the successes like the one below worth experiencing.

Hope you all are having a great week.