I don’t share this too often because it’s a reminder of the ugly monster called the “fear of failure” that still occasionally creeps up in my life.
It’s good that I’m on sabbatical right now because my entire family and I got really consumed by the Beijing Olympics. Actually, it was a great family bonding event – watching the events, cheering for athletes, learning about stories, and soaking in the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. The Olympics were great but then again, when you [China] spend a total of 44 billion dollars on hosting the Olympics, it better be good.
Perhaps like many others, I had dreams of being a future Olympian when I was a young boy. I grew up loving sports and still do. It was my escape for so many things including my identity crisis as an immigrant. During middle school, interestingly enough, I was voted both the shyest and most athletic person. During high school, I lettered 9 times but the sport I most excelled in was fencing. I was called “Little Flying Warrior” way before the Chinese game that nickname to Kobe Bryant.
In 1989, I qualified for the U.S. Junior Olympic Championships. I had the future lined up. I would make the U.S. Junior Olympic team, receive a Division I fencing scholarship, and eventually become an Olympian. The problem was I never got to the 1st phase. I lost in the quarterfinals and placed 21st in the Junior Olympics. That was the closest I got to the Olympics.
I was pretty discouraged and quit fencing altogether later that year. That competition was my last offical fencing bout.
Why did i quit? Losing sucked and I was afraid to lose again. I was afraid to fail and that fear of failure paralyzed me. I have numerous regrets in my life and quitting fencing is one of them. I can easily concede that I would have never made the Olympics. Not even close. But the consistent lessons I’ve learned then and now is that the process, experience, and journey is as, if not, more important than the end result.
While I do have my list of regrets, I’m trying to live my life with hopes of not adding too much to that list. Here’s to our dreams, goals, and aspirations. May we all continue to pursue them – in hopes of honoring Christ through our very lives.
- Want to share one or two of your regrets?
- How about a dream or aspiration you hope to pursue?
[photo from Getty Images]