BriarfieldDental - February 2018

February 2018

We Learn the Most When Things Go Wrong A GOLD MEDAL IN FAILURE

My dad was a teacher and a high school basketball coach, so I grew up in an athletic atmosphere. You might have noticed my athletic exploits didn’t extend into adulthood — unless the Stuckey Open at our annual family reunion counts. However, I hold sports in high regard. Every sport encourages a drive for excellence in athletes, increasing their determination to succeed while demanding a lot of dedication. Few places can you see this more clearly than at the Olympics. This month, the Olympic Winter Games take place in Pyeongchang, South Korea. This international event tends to come with political drama, but in the spirit of the original Olympics in ancient Greece, once an athlete steps out to compete, it doesn’t matter where they are from — all that matters is how well they perform. One thing that really throws me for a loop is when you realize how young many of these athletes are. Some of them aren’t even in their 20s yet, but they have committed their entire young life to their sport and now find themselves on the global stage.

their dreams and bring home gold. But we all know not every athlete will be able to do that. There are times when an unexpected misstep throws off a routine they have nailed perfectly in the past, or something goes wrong in the beginning and they aren’t able to correct their course. Maybe they perform perfectly, but it’s just not good enough for the competition. That’s how life is in general. We aim for greatness, but things don’t always work out the way we want them to. There are moments in life when, even though we give our best effort, things don’t turn out the way we want them to. We can try our best and still fail. These moments are rough, but they are incredibly important. How we handle failure is something that will define us most as a person. I can’t imagine what an athlete feels when they come home empty-handed after reaching the Winter Olympics. I’ve skied once in my life, and while on the mountain, I learned how to

fall down really well. However, I can relate to feeling frustrated when things don’t go as planned. In the dental field, I can perform a procedure flawlessly a thousand times, and then one day, it goes less than great. There are complications, and it can be discouraging as a professional, but I don’t give up. I fix the problem and learn from what went wrong so I can be a better dentist in the future. When it comes to the Olympics, if a figure skater doesn’t get enough rotations in their triple axel, or a downhill skier crosses the finish line a half-second too late, no one can say they failed. They made it to the Olympics! There’s success in that accomplishment alone. The best athletes are the ones who, when they don’t make it onto the podium, look four years ahead and say, “I will be there next time.” We can all learn something from that mentality. – Dr. Stuckey

“How we handle failure is something that will define us most as a person.”

Reaching the Olympics is something young athletes across the world strive for. Here, they have the opportunity to achieve

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