Before we get started, let’s get one thing straight: I hate failure. Discovering that I failed to succeed in any regard, at anytime or for any reason leaves an unpleasant taste in my mouth and I try to avoid experiencing failure wherever possible. With that said, I am an extremely ambitious person and life has taught me that the ceaseless pursuit of success is not always without cost.
I have enjoyed tangible success and I have also endured bitter failure – they both served to teach me different things. The key issue is that I have never been afraid to fail. Show me someone who is afraid to fail and I’ll show you someone who will never discover the true measure of their personal capability.
Some people argue that the fear of failure is an excellent mechanism to facilitate success, but they say that because they are a little bit stupid. Shock, horror: stop throwing sharp objects around and hear me out! If the drive for success is ‘funded’ by the fear of failure: what happens if the fear subsides?
Law-abiding citizens who respect the importance of a properly regulated and enforced society obey the law because they believe that doing so is the correct thing to do. Others fear being caught and punished for their crimes. However, when the fear of justice subsides, the crime rate goes up.
The fear of failure dissipates a persons desire for success.
Fear is not a useful motivator for progress as fear can exist without logical reason or sustainable premise. People who present themselves well in a physical sense, often look like they got dressed in the dark once they no longer give a damn what anyone has to say about them. More to the point, you should only ever pursue objectives for reasons that make proper sense to you because if the outcome you aspire to will require time, energy, resources or favours – you will need a very good reason to keep on writing those cheques.
Human beings nearly always do the things they want to do with greater passion, joy, determination and consistency than they can muster for the things they feel compelled to do. In simple terms, you are far more likely to maintain a successful life because you enjoy being successful than if you pursue success because you fear being tagged ‘a failure.’
Trying, but sometimes failing, will ultimately accomplish more than never trying in order to avoid dealing with disappointment.
Here’s the thing about failure – it’s not always a bad thing. At times when I have experienced failures, I discovered that there were flaws in my original plans and seeing it all fall apart at a relatively early stage saved me from irreparable disaster later on. I have also discovered that falling off of my perch liberated me from other people’s unrealistic expectations.
I know now for sure that I can recover from serious setbacks (you can’t be really certain until you’ve done it a few times). I know how to brush myself off and to redesign my plans: even under extreme duress. I have found reservoirs of resolve that I didn’t even know existed – whilst lying flat on my face. In that instance, falling over enriched me and provided access to additional strength that has inspired me to stand taller than ever.
What others might have deemed to be failures have in reality, been part of wider body of education that has transformed my thinking. Who knew that failure could be such an effective teacher? The key here is not to waste time with condemnation, self-pity or apportioning blame.
When things go wrong (and they almost certainly will at some point or to some degree) you should use every ounce of intelligence to understand all of the circumstances that contributed to the situation you now find yourself in. Did I do enough research? Did I put my trust in the right people? Did I do the right thing, in the right place – but at the wrong time? In the end, the data gathered during such investigations could produce outstanding results for you going forward.
I should add that even though I have experienced failure on numerous occasions, I have never thought of myself as a failure – nor permitted others to so categorise me. The distinction is important and worthy of further clarification. Having a few drinks doesn’t make you an alcoholic: not being able to stop after a few drinks definitely does. The fear of failing can cause people not to try: which merely tips them into a perpetual cycle of underperformance.