Failure doesn’t have to be an “f” word. It can be a blessing in disguise when we don’t allow fear of failure to hold us back from taking steps toward a better life.
It’s understandable to have a negative attitude towards failure. However, it does possess a silver lining. Failing at something forces us to acknowledge where we have room to improve. This can make us stronger and more resilient as we advance one step closer to success.
Failure is a only a pit stop. With perseverance, you will make it across the finish line. Author Stephen McCranie said “The master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried.” We are hard-wired to learn by trial and error, so failure is like our teacher.
Failing frequently helps us to clarify what we need to do in order to get to where we want to be. By embracing this learning process, we grow more likely to take risks and strive for our goals without worrying about the sting of obstacles. In this way, persistence leads to success and setbacks can be viewed as an opportunity to toughen-up. It’s a win-win!
While failure can be a blessing in disguise, the fear of failure can easily overwhelm our desires for a better life. Inaction is commonly symptomatic of fear and can leave you stuck, exactly where you are. Staying within your comfort zone and doing nothing may hurt less than being shot down but, in the long run, it’s always better to have tried and failed than to have made no attempt at all.
“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. “For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers.” according to Psychiatrist and best selling author, M.Scott Peck.
Perfecting a skill through trial and error – whether it’s cooking, building something with our hands, turning a car or anything else – is different to falling flat on your face. It took Thomas Edison 3,000 attempts to create what has become the modern light bulb and his legendary grit only made his success more satisfying – and inspirational. Edison approached this project with the mindset that each setback was simply an opportunity to refine his ideas. If his plan had been to complete the project by lunchtime, then he may have given up, like many of his contemporaries.
“Success is 99% failure,” says Soichiro Honda, founder of Honda Motor Company.
Take a look at the goals you want to achieve. It might be making more money, getting a license, writing a bestselling novel (ahem), or anything else. Ask yourself, “Why haven’t I achieved this yet?” Is fear holding you back? If so, what can you do to manage the negative emotions that come with experiencing a setback? To motivate yourself, can you spell out exactly why you’re aiming for this goal?
Keep in mind that all winners fail before succeeding - Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team and Walt Disney was fired from a job because he lacked imagination.
Remember, the more hard-won the prize, the sweeter the victory.
By Grant J Everett, Panorama Magazine
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