Competitive Response

Failure leads to success.  Such a simple and complex key.

How do we react to adversity, to failure, to obstacles?

Do we let the result dictate our next two, three, or four decisions?

I struggled much of my life with how to deal with failures.  I was gifted with a straight path academically, supportive family and friends, involved religiously at my church, and gifted athletically.  Life for the most part through high school was failure free.  But when failures would hit, they would hit like a Mack truck full of Mack trucks.

In college, the first day, my cross country coach, Al Carius, laid forth the theme of competitive response for all of us freshman:

“Running, relationships, school, religion, life; it’s all about how you react.  You have five seconds from the time something happens to choose your path.  Competitive response.  Let it beat you, let that kid from Augustana pass you on the home stretch?  Let it beat you, turn to something less productive?  Let it beat you, close up and give up?  No.  Turn the negative into a positive.  One mistake.  That’s it!  ONE!  Not two, not three.  We choose what happens next, not that Wheaton athlete, not that professor, not that priest, not that bully.”

Besides my family, Al Carius was the most influential person on my life.  He shaped my philosophy on teaching and coaching.  I have the gift of imparting this on my students and athletes.  One mistake.  One failure.  That’s it.  Let them become more or be competitive?  I leave that to you.



  1. erinjohnson7 · March 3, 2016

    “You have five seconds from the time something happens to choose your path.” This is really stick with me because I admit that I am the worst at reacting to a struggling situation. I try to work on this all the time but this statement will really stick with me. It’s something to think about because you control your own destiny and it’s how you react to things that makes the biggest difference. Thank you for sharing Al Carius’ wisdom.


  2. Katie Diez · March 3, 2016

    This Slice really hits me today…I too, had all those supports in place for me, and when I feel like I am failing, I can really struggle with it and find that it can snowball into more than just one failure…Thank you for imparting some wisdom today.


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