Why do we fail?


It’s the story we tell ourselves. Stories like, we are not good enough, smart enough, or strong enough.

The world conditions us to believe we cannot do it, we won’t make it. You need to be lucky or born with a specific talent to get to the top. If you look for reasons to fail, you will fail. If you look for reasons to win, you will find a way to win. You will find what you seek. We must develop life skills. If you want to win, change your thoughts. Your thoughts will change your focus, and your focus will change your actions. If you focus on a negative story, you will get a negative result. Let me explain.

What was my story and how did I change it?

My childhood was rough. My parents were very negative and still are to this day. They see the worst in every situation. I was conditioned to believe that we are who we are and nothing will change that. It was a story that was engrained in me. They did not teach me life skills.

I was told “You’re dumb, you will never graduate high school”. The most common thing my dad said to me was “The world needs ditch diggers too”.

My dad was a hard worker. He had a great work ethic, and as a result spent very little with me. I am sure he was at some of my activities, but not enough for me to remember. I started martial arts training in 1982. My dad did not attend any of my competitions. He was working.

I am grateful that he was a hard worker. He provided a great middle-class environment of us. He was a work horse.

So, am I a ditch digger? NOPE! (Nothing wrong with ditch diggers by the way)

You see being dumb and a failure did not serve me. That was not a story that was going to get me to the top.

I took all the negativity and looked at from a different perspective. Every time you tell me I can’t do something, I will break records achieving the goal.

Sure, I have failed plenty. Failure is the road to success, but many people fail and then give up.

Martial arts training has helped to fight through adversity and stay in the fight.

I was still telling myself a negative story, and then my life changed drastically in 2003.

I left the Moore Police Department to pursue my dream of owning a martial arts school. I left a career with decent pay and great benefits to run a martial arts school that could not replace my salary or even pay its own bills.

I told my dad I was leaving the police department. His reply, “SON, you have a family to support, you can’t do that”! Everyone said the same thing. If you want to be successful, you must ignore the naysayers, believe in yourself, and get into the game.

I left the police department in September of 2003. By February of 2004, Victory Marital Arts was one of the fastest growing schools in the United States. In 2005, Victory Martial Arts was recognized as a Top 100 school in the country. There are more than 22,000 martial arts schools in the US.

Victory Martial Arts is one of the most successful schools in the country. But what sets Victory apart?  I don’t do mediocre. I don’t do average. It is a mindset. Victory Martial Arts is known for building champions in life, and operating with integrity.


I accept nothing less than greatness from myself and my students.

I do not believe that you earn a black belt, get a black belt, achieve a black belt or buy a black belt. I believe that you BECOME a Black Belt by developing winning life skills.

You become a black belt by developing life skills such as; self-discipline, confidence, self-control, perseverance, focus and much more. Victory Martial Arts Black Belts are second to none. They are winners in life and can defend themselves.

We all have dis-empowering beliefs, but you must control them. You need to replace them with empowering beliefs. You have the ability to achieve greatness. Believe in yourself.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it, because you can.

Victory Martial Arts trains the mind as much as we train the body. Success is yours. Let’s go get it.

What is your story? Is it getting in the way of your success?

If you found this article helpful, please share with friends. Ever wonder what is more important, physical conditioning or mental conditioning? This article might interest you.

Steven Swinford is a certified life coach and sports psychology coach. He is the owner and Grandmaster of Victory Martial Arts in Norman, OK.