Billie Jean King, commencement

I know people make the rounds with the same speeches but this paragraph from Billie Jean King’s commencement speech stuck with me.  I have heard it from her before but I still love it.

“There are those who think life is a marathon. I don’t agree. I think life is a series of sprints. You get to start over and over and over again, always adapting to the long and winding road in front of you. Along the way, you’ll have failures. But if you choose to see these failures as feedback, it will help you plan your next step. When I used to play, a long time ago, that game of tennis, that sport of tennis: The ball would be coming to me. Each ball is a new opportunity. I have to make a decision so I have to take responsibility, and I have to decide if I’m going to hit it. If I hit it and the ball goes wide, I take that information, I delete it from my computer in my brain, I enter that in my computer in my brain and I’m ready for the next shot. I get that same shot to make a correction. If you think of it as feedback, not failure, O.K.?”

Comments (Archived):

  1. Pranay Srinivasan

    Feedback not Failure.So tough not to internalize failure.

    1. Gotham Gal

      very tough.

    2. JLM

      .Kipling:”If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster;And treat those two impostors just the same;”Part of growing up is growing up. When you have done your best and left it on the playing field, you have done the best you could with what you had. That is the only standard that matters, the ability to say, “I did the best I could with what I had.”We learn from failure while we celebrate and glory in triumph.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      1. Pranay Srinivasan

        Tough to judge “the best” I did v/s what I “should have done”.Thats Zen but equally weak.If you didnt stress out about what went wrong, your best is a plateau, not a peak.

        1. JLM

          .If one cannot say with assurance they did their best, then, clearly, they did not.In everything we do of portent, there should be a debriefing, an after action assessment.http://themusingsofthebigre…When you lead an organization, you conduct a post mortem on the organization and yourself.Life is a graded exercise.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  2. JLM

    .Inside every person is 7-12 careers, said the guy who has been a professional soldier, a corporate cog, an entrepreneur, a company starter, a real estate developer, a construction company owner, a public company CEO, an angel investor, a CEO coach, and a writer.There is no limit to what we can do as long as we disregard the world’s ideas as to our limitations.Is this a great country or what?JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…