This is the first finalist in our “celebrating failure” competition. At the end of the post, the instructor from the student’s section explains what they liked this entry. A vote on the winner among the four finalists will start July 10 on my blog.

Student’s Name: Andrew Seenandan

“One of the most memorable failures of my life was at the Golden Gloves boxing tournament. The build up to the tournament was the key factor in making it unforgettable.

Prior to the tournament I had already won the provincial bronze and silver glove tournaments for my province. I would be the third person ever in the history of the province to win all three if the Golden Gloves was conquered as well. On top of that, I had an uncle who used to box and was a champion back in his days. He took a strong initiative when he saw my victories to train me.

One of the goals he really wanted me to accomplish was to move down another weight class before the tournament. To say the least I struggled badly to lose the weight for the tournament. It also drained me physically. All the effort was futile because there ended up being no one to fight against in the lower weight class. The result was I had to move up to the next weight class.

On the day of the fight I had all sorts of family show up for the fight that had not shown up before. Even my own mother showed up, which threw me off ’cause she never came to any of my fights before ’cause she couldn’t bear to see me hit. There was an absolute massive amount of pressure on me to perform. To add to it, at the time I didn’t know, but my cousin was good friends with Bret “The Hitman” Hart, a professional wrestler I grew up watching as a kid who just happened to also be there in the audience.

Long story short: I had all my uncles shouting for a knockout so under the pressure I wore myself out gunning for the knockout and ended up losing a points decision. I was utterly devastated from the loss, but it made me much stronger through the experience because I learned to deal with pressure at a whole new level. I came to the realization that there wouldn’t be much more experiences in life that would be as stressful as the one I just went through. Now things like presentations and interviews seem like a cake walk as compared to a boxing match, where physical well-being is on the line in combination with everything else associated with it.

In conclusion I will leave you with a thought that Mike Tyson once said: “fear is like fire –  if controlled it will keep you warm –  if it is left to get out of control it will eat you up alive.” All one can do is shoot for the stars ’cause even though you may not reach them you may end up somewhere close.”

Instructor’s Comments:

“This was a very interesting post. Andrew dealt with making it to a championship boxing tournament where he succumbed to pressure/nerves to listen to bad advice that caused him to lose. From this he learned ways of better dealing with pressure and perspective on what truly is a stressful situation. For the exercise it showed more thought than the other posts, and focused on an important moment in his life.”

Paul Jarley, Ph.D., is the dean of the UCF College of Business Administration. He blogs every week at This post appeared on June 12, 2013. Follow him on Twitter @pauljarley