In most people’s world, the word failure has a negative connotation to it. When you think of the word in your head, or say it out loud it brings about a whirlwind of averse emotions. Fear, shame, embarrassment, disappointment, etc.
But why? Why does failure have to be bad?
I guess the better question is, why have we been raised in society to view failure as negative?
Take Sara Blakley for example, the founder of Spanx (She’s only worth about $1 Billion).
Growing up her dad encouraged her to fail and fail often. At the dinner table he’d ask what she failed at that day/week. He’d then proceed to give her high-fives for these failures. At times, he’d even be disappointed when she didn’t have anything that she had failed at.
A popular line from Sara herself – “My dad always encouraged me to fail, and because of this, he gave me the gift of retraining my thinking about failure,” she explained. “Failure for me became about not trying, instead of the outcome.”
Reread the above once more.
If you TRY you can NEVER fail, even if things don’t work out as planned.
While you are most likely much older than the young Sara sitting at the dinner table, it’s never too late to retrain your mind and thinking about failure.
Failure doesn’t HAVE to be a bad thing.
Think about this for a moment:
What’s something extremely important to you that you’ve hesitated on going through with because of your fear of failing?
Now, what’s the absolutely WORST possible outcome that can happen from attempting to pursue this dream, passion, goal, etc?
I can almost guarantee that if you attempt to retrain your mind/thinking about failure, the satisfaction you’d receive from going after this important endeavor (even just the process and learning experience from it) would drastically outweigh any negative emotions that you’d endure from not being able to accomplish the goal.
Even worse, imagine the regret years down the road of never even giving it a shot.
Bumps in the road are just that, nothing more. What I’ve come to discover is that more than half the battle is simply building up the courage to get started and to try.
If it doesn’t work out, big deal! Move on. You do so in other aspects of your life when forced to, why not do it when it comes to the most IMPORTANT aspects of your life.
Nine times out of ten the fear and excuses that you tell yourself that prevent you from taking the first step forward, are never anywhere near as extreme as you’d expect them to be once you’ve taken the plunge and later look back.
The next time you’re feeling inspired and ready to take a leap of faith into the unknown, don’t let your old perception of failure get in the way. Don’t let your fear of failure outweigh your motivation to achieve.
Just ask yourself, what’s the worst possible outcome that can happen?
You only have one life to live and we’re only here for so long. Don’t waste it by limiting yourself or worrying about other people’s opinions or what they may or may not think of you.
I’ll leave you with a quote by J.K. Rowling:
“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 fail by default.”