• Jim Stovall

Lifting & Living by Jim Stovall

The more of life I live, the more I look upon the theory of compartmentalization as a false indicator. While it may be a useful tool to examine your family life, financial condition, or physical health, we don’t live our lives in a vacuum. If you ruin your physical health but become an overwhelming success financially, most reasonable people would agree that you have failed. Our lives are a composite of all our knowledge and experience. Anything we learn in one area can serve us in all areas of our lives.

As a young man, my primary pursuit was playing football. I thought it would be my profession, and the coaches and scouts that monitor such things assured me that I had the size and speed to make a football career a reality. However, during a routine physical before the football season began one year, I was diagnosed with an eye disease that would eventually cause me to lose my sight. Some quick research on my part revealed the fact that at that time, and to this very day, there has never been a blind player in the National Football League. So I was forced to change directions.


About that same time, I was exposed to the sport of Olympic weightlifting which gave me an outlet to complete my athletic career and taught me a number of lessons. At first glance, competitive weightlifting would seem to be the least cerebral of all sports as it only involves a single competitor’s ability to lift a weight off of the floor and hold it overhead. There is no teamwork and seemingly little strategy involved. However, as in most things, there is much wisdom to be gained if one is observant.


Like many areas of life, weightlifting requires one to fail in order to succeed. When you are a competitive weightlifting champion, the most frequently asked question from fans or the media is, “How much can you lift?” There was a time when my answer to that question was 508 pounds, but ironically, the only way I knew how much I could lift was because I had repeatedly failed to lift even a pound more than that.

In much the same way, you and I will never know what we can achieve in our personal and professional lives until we extend ourselves beyond our current limitations. In weightlifting, when you reach a new milestone and lift a weight you have never before lifted, it is known as your “personal best.” It’s important for us to achieve our personal best in every area of our lives, but just as in weightlifting, your personal best need not be a permanent milestone, but instead you can grow, develop, and achieve much more in the future. Failure is never final. It simply helps us to define who we are today and how much better we can be in the future.

As you go through your day today, remember to fail your way to success.

Today’s the day!

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