While Thomas Edison is best be remembered for his achievements, he also delivered many important insights into the idea of invention. For example, Edison often stressed doing over thinking. He’d say that genius was 99% about hard work (“perspiration”). One of my favorite quotes is the one used in the concluding post of this campaign: “I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
Stef’s story is one of re-invention. Her mother pushed her out of Venezuela due to the strife that was going on, and Stef struck out for America alone with nothing more than a soccer scholarship and big dreams. But all that soon crumbled and she was forced to start all over again. During that process of re-inventing herself, she learned the importance of quitting and quickly if necessary. She embraced failure as viewed it as a positive part of that invention process and not a setback as we often do.
To fill that hole in her life and give meaning to her competitive drive, she approached things methodically, like a scientist or maybe even Edison himself. One athletic endeavor after the other, she fully committed to, and then quit when she realized the fit wasn’t right: kickboxing, triathlons, skateboarding, Olympic Lifting, and so on. If you didn’t like falling from heights, skateboarding may not be appropriate. If you didn’t like getting kicked in the face, maybe there was something other than contact sports.
Her then-boyfriend called her a “quitter.” But maybe that says a lot more about us than him. It’s no coincidence that the following saying exists in our society: “Quitters never win.” But what if quitting is required for winning? What if embracing failure puts you on the path to success? When it comes right down to it, I think that’s Stef’s story. It’s also been a big part of Animal’s story since the very beginning. It’s not about who you are, your gender, age, or particular passion. It’s not about what you ultimately achieve either. You don’t have to be a World Record holder or CEO. Like Wrath before her, Animal is defined by how we each travel on our individual roads.
In the end, the journey may not be linear but circular. Every morning you get up, and set goals for that day. You step outside, walk down the familiar stairs, and take everything you need with you. At the end of a long, tiring day, it’s back home; back up those same stairs, so you can repeat the process all over again. Wrath knew this as being part of the process. But maybe where Stef differs is that she shows us what needs to come first, before the actual traveling begins.
Before you start any journey that can lead to greatness, you need to find a “roadmap.” For Stef, her map lead her to a dead end in college. To proceed, she had to let go of the past, and embrace failure in the future. Fast to fail? Yes, but you also have to be quick to quit. Maybe we can all incorporate this in our lives. But for the next time, for the next “Burden of the Bar,” we will have a new story to share with you. We hope you will follow.
Signing off until next time,
#BurdenOfTheBar #IAmAnimal #AnimalPak