“You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don’t try.” ~ Beverly Sills …
As much as successful as I am, I have experienced a lot of failures in my life. As a boy, I lost sparring matches at taekwondo tournaments and went home empty handed. My senior year of high school football, we were down by 20 points at halftime and rallied back to within 4 points only to fall short and lose. And a few years back I started a business that simply ended up costing too much time and money in overhead to keep going. I have made many mistakes, and faced failure time and time again, but I realized long ago that failure is ok, for within it, I have made the effort to succeed, and I have learned much about myself and how I might increase my chances for success in the future. Failure has become a normal and acceptable step in growth for me.
For some of us, a major determining factor in avoiding risk is not to look silly in the eyes of others, as if we need their approval. Another factor is the fear of losing that which we already feel comfortable with. And although both are unfortunate losses, what is worse is avoiding risk only to disappoint ourselves. If we see it through, in the end, others will respect and admire us for our attitude and determination. One of the more interesting things I have discovered is that the times when I thought I have really disappointed others, they actually have been more impressed with the fact that I took a risk and made a strong effort than they are disappointed that things did not turn out the way I thought they should.
Sometimes we are looking at life in the wrong way. Sure, we may fail, but we will also find success in our failures if we allow ourselves to. And perhaps we may even disappoint, but others will be understanding of us and admire our resolve. And when we keep this in mind, we are often much more likely to take risks, for we are certain that we will not disappoint ourselves and those around us. Another thing that can help us is to remember that the world is full of people who have succeeded. They, too, have been faced with risk and the same potential for failure as we are faced with, yet they chose the risk because it also held the potential for success. It is this optimistic view that allows us to find the positive in our failures, to learn lessons from our mistakes, and present ourselves with the unlimited potential for growth.
If we never try–challenge ourselves, embark on new journeys, and experience new things–we may never know the outcome, or where our path may lead us. And realizing that things can and do happen, and accepting this as a normal step in growth, frees us up to take more chances, to stretch our limits, to take on more challenges and expand our comfort zone.
Challenge yourself today to attempt something in which you find potential failure.
Questions to consider:
What are some of the factors that keep you from trying things that are difficult or risky?
How do the people who truly matter usually react when you make a mistake or do not accomplish something you have set out to do?
What kinds of things have you not tried recently? What kinds of things might you try in the future?
For further thought:
“Yes, risk-taking is inherently failure-prone. Otherwise, it would be called sure-thing-taking.” ~ Tim McMahon, punk rock vocalist