Success: A First Victory Transforms

Posted by Judy Anne Cavey on Mar 21, 2012 in , , | No Comments

Tell yourself, “I’ve done this before, I can do it again.”

In an article by Jay Dixit, “Heartbreak and Home Runs: the Power of First Experiences”, Psychology Today, the writer explores our earliest successes, dissecting how they impact our entire lives. What he found could help college students and workers experience confidence, and future success, though remembering previous successes.

Michael Jordan’s Success

As a freshman at the University of North Carolina, Michael Jordan was a good basketball player, but not a superstar until one memorable game that changed everything. Jordan made a 16 foot game-winning jump shot, which earned his college the championship. Recalling that day years later, he realized it was a major turning point. He had the ability to perform–superbly–under a great deal of pressure. Often remembering his first big success to build up confidence in other games, Jordan would say to himself, “I’ve done this before, I can do it again.”

That one victory transformed Michael Jordan’s game–and life.

Applied to College and Work

The same thought can be applied to acing an exam in your first college course, or nailing your first job interview. These experiences “…provide potent fodder for your sense of identity as a successful person,states Jay Dixit. Basically, you succeeded in a tough situation and now know you can do the same in other difficult situations. These are memorable, stick-in-your-brain experiences which conjure up feelings of self-worth.

Best of all, your first success at something can reveal abilities you never knew you had.

The Failure Factor

A first failure has an impact on our psyche just as a first success. Flunking a major exam, missing an easy shot on the court, or blowing an interview can make you feel like a failure rather quickly. But what separates us from those who have (what seems like) endless successes? They put the negative situations behind them. “Once you can see yourself doing something–once you can experience it and feel what it’s like–it changes you,” explains Richard Ginsburg, athletic coach and author of Whose Game Is It, Anyway? He continues, “The best performers are good at forgiving themselves, dropping failure from their mental bandwidth quickly so that they can focus on the positive.”

In order to get past failures: learn from them, forgive yourself, and move on.

Personal Questions

Think about your first victories, do you continue to call on them in other situations?

Do you feel more confident the more successes you have?

Did you agree with Richard Ginsburg, that these experiences change you?

How do you handle failures?


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