I’ve written many times that among the characteristics of those who excel in many fields is they do not fear or shrink from failure. In fact, when they practice their discipline, they almost always plan it to include a form of difficulty or challenge that will ensure some kind of failure, or reveal a weak point, knowing that’s how to get better.
Samuel Beckett, the Irish playwright, and Stanislas Wawrinka have put it more elegantly. Who is Stanislas Wawrinka? He’s the Swiss tennis player who has always been overshadowed by Roger Federer. But, it’s Wawrinka, not Federer, who is still alive the men’s draw at the U.S. Open, which will conclude this weekend at Flushing Meadows. Yesterday, Wawrinka beat Andy Murray, the defending U.S. Open and Wimbledon champion, to advance to the semifinal round.
Tattooed on Wawrinka’s left forearm is a quotation from Samuel Beckett: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail Better.”
“It’s my vision of my job and my life in general,” Wawrinka said. “In tennis, if you are not Roger or Rafa or Djokovic or Andy now, you always lose. But you need to take the positive of the loss and you need to go back to work. It’s that simple.”