Failing Your Way to Success: The Importance of Patience


Remember when “I don’t know” was a good enough answer?

It was wonderful. Someone would ask you something and if you didn’t know the right answer, then you could just say “I don’t know,” and everyone would just go about their lives. 

Now, we have the internet in our pockets and at our fingertips at all times. On one hand, that is an amazing and helpful thing. The internet is all of the accumulated information of the entirety of human civilization, and we can call it up at a moment’s notice. 

However, some of that information is flat out wrong. And the wrong information is just as easy, if not easier to access than the right information. 

The issue is immediacy. It very often doesn’t matter so much that you have the right answer, as long as you have the first answer. God forbid, you don’t have any answer at all. 

Immediacy has had a negative impact on children, particularly when it comes to setting and achieving goals

When we teach a child to set a goal, we’re teaching them the idea of process, and that there is a quality of workmanship or learning that is going to take time to achieve. 

That’s why the 3½ year trek of getting a black belt is such an amazing journey. By today’s standards, taking that long to accomplish anything is almost unheard of. 

I have been privy to a couple of seminars at schools who are now doing these “fast track black belt” programs, which are exactly what you think they are. 

To each his own, I suppose, but it is the opposite of what I believe that journey is all about. 

When we set a goal, we set a process into motion. 

  1. Establish what the goal is.
  2. Lay out how you are going to achieve that goal. 
  3. Have a process for checking in to make sure you are still on the right path
  4. Have a way to acknowledge, accept, and adapt to failure along the way without giving up.


At our dojang, we have another way of expressing this. We call it the Black Belt Success System:

  1. Know what you want
  2. Have a plan (and a good success coach)
  3. Take consistent action
  4. Review and renew your goals
  5. Achieve your goal. 
  6. Strike a Superman pose


Spoiler alert: there is not always a straight shot to success. 

Thomas Edison once said, “I failed my way to success.”


Having the patience to work through failure is a crucial component to achieving any goal. And with schools constantly making it easier on students in order to improve their own numbers, having that patience is more important than ever. 

When I was a schoolteacher, I was once told by my principal that I was not allowed to give a student a grade they received, which was something very low like a 38 or 39. I was told that, on that student’s report card, I had to raise the grade to a 70, as we were not allowed to list anything lower than that. 

Naturally, I refused to do so. That principal didn’t understand what I believe to be fundamentally true: failure is okay! It causes our brains to start firing and finding other things that do work in terms of how to overcome an obstacle in pursuit of our goals. 

Done enough times, adapting to failure becomes a reflex. 

Anything worth doing well is worth doing poorly as you develop the skills to achieve success. And this requires patience, persistence, and faith that you will get there someday. Just like those that have come before you.


Master Gorino’s Tae Kwon-Do offers a trial program for individuals and families in Buffalo, NY and the surrounding areas that allows you to get a feel for the different classes, meet our instructors, and experience our dojang. It’s a great way to see if Tae Kwon-Do is right for you. To learn more or to sign up, register online or call (716) 836-KICK (5425) and a member of our team will follow up with you on next steps. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals. Pil-Sung!


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