Failure vs Fear of Failure
What does ‘failure’ actually say about you? The answer is all in your head. Seriously.
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” — J.K. Rowling
Failure makes a better teacher than success. Children learn to walk by walking, sure…but they learn to get really good at walking by falling down. No matter how many times that newly-toddling toddler falls down, the parents hold an unshakable belief that the toddler will, in fact, walk. There isn’t a fall of any proportion or a force on the planet that can convince the parent otherwise!
The scraped knees and painful bruises teach us to become better at standing. It’s nature’s way of forcing us to focus on the essentials that we must have to see a task to completion – to succeed.
So, in my opinion, failure gets a bum rap! The negative associations we’ve learned to attribute to failure are, quite truthfully, the best learning tools in the galaxy. It seems that we forget our unwavering belief that our toddlers would walk – or that we would learn to read or write or anything else that we weren’t perfect at on the first (or one hundredth) try.
Society celebrates success and vilifies failure – so much so that we become reluctant – embarrassed, even – to share our failures in all their inglorious detail on our journey to success.
Believe me, for every success story you’ll ever see, there is a wide, rocky path of failures lying in its wake. We should celebrate that part, too. We should celebrate it a lot.
Think about your first time trying to drive – especially if there was some stern authority figure in the passenger seat with both feet pressed firmly into the floorboard and white-knuckled fingers gripping the dash, barking instructions at you through clenched teeth.
You were apprehensive, afraid. Your chest was tight and it was a little hard to breathe, and probably you could feel your heart pounding in your chest like a caged bird fighting to escape. You fumbled to get the seat belt fastened and the mirrors and seat adjusted. It probably crossed your mind more than once that maybe this driving thing wasn’t for you.
You might have been afraid to turn the key in the ignition switch.
Today, you can most likely operate nearly any motor vehicle with complete confidence in a wide variety of weather conditions while listening to the radio, carrying on a conversation with a passenger, and maybe eating a not-so-healthy fast food snack. Your apprehension about it is gone, and you can slide behind the wheel with ease and oh, the places you can go!
Think about what your life would be like if you never turned the key…if you let the fear keep you from trying at all. Think about what life would look like if you could only ever see the world from the passenger seat.
Every journey starts with a single step in the direction of your destination, and it never has to be a perfect step. How you perceive the potential of failure – and the fear between your ears – is the strongest influence over whether you’re willing to set your feet on the road and take intentional action toward getting to where you want to go.
What’s the “handrail” you’re still clinging to? What’s actually keeping you from driving the car? More importantly, what makes you keep getting behind the wheel and trying again? Are you celebrating what knocked you down?
Don’t let fear keep you from failing. Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.
If you’re ready to get out of the passenger seat and slide behind the wheel, you can get help turning your own key here: https://www.pamc.me/dream/
I’ll look forward to the ride with you. 🙂