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I was never good at football, I wasn’t even allowed onto the pitch to do the team training most days, instead being shunted behind the goal with the other duffers, where we chatted, mucked about, but never made the team. I was never good at fighting older lads at school, though I did try, and I often came off worst. I was a bright boy but disengaged, so failed all my exams.

But I met my oldest friend during a PE lesson at school. We were both as far away from the action as possible, avoiding the ball. And fighting the big lads at school made me durable, if nothing else. I don’t worry overmuch about unkind words, and even now, when I see some would-be bad lad peacocking, it just makes me smile. And years after I left school at 16, like a rocket, I might add, vowing never to return, I decided I would return to study, and I knew the parameters of failure, and by extension, what was required for success.

I don’t enjoy failure, but it doesn’t hinder growth, and sometimes it’s a welcome pre-condition.

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