I’m a failure.
I have tried and failed at so many things that I can’t keep track.
A recurring theme in my life is to start a: diet, business, blog, reading a book, writing a book, a new hobby (looking at you, crocheting), new TV shows, classes in school, relationships, and who even knows what else. You name it, I have ambitiously and confidently started it, only to fail as short as a week later (still looking at you, crocheting).
It’s not that I don’t have the discipline to stick with something, it’s a ton of reasons. I would either realize I didn’t like it as much as I thought, realize I’m in over my head, realize I have no idea what I’m doing and didn’t prepare, ran out of money for it, got lazy and never picked it back up, ran into a roadblock I couldn’t get around… the list goes on.
I can come up with a million excuses why I failed, but I don’t need to. I don’t need to justify my failures to myself. I failed. Notice the period at the end of that sentence? It’s there for a reason. I failed. Full stop. I don’t need to justify it to myself because I’m not ashamed and I’m not beating myself up about it. I am not defending my failures. They happened, I can learn from them, and I can move on.
MythBusters’ Adam Savage often said that “Failure is always an option,” and maybe I watched that show too much, but that hit home for me. It made sense. It’s a possibility — I can prepare for it the best I can, but if it happens, I need to be okay and deal with it.
And once I learned this, I was willing to try anything. And I mean anything. I’m not afraid to take a chance on something new because there’s no fear of failure in me. Of course I want to succeed! But that doesn’t always happen. And I’m okay taking a chance at success because failure isn’t a deal breaker for me.
I know that not everyone shares this view though. So, I wonder, why are we so afraid of failure? Mistakes and failure are a part of life, and we can learn from them to grow. Failure does not have to be the end of the road.
As long as you are still alive and can grow and learn, then there is nothing preventing you from getting back up and trying again after a failure. Maybe you need to pause and find a new approach to reach your goal, but there is nothing final stopping you from trying again except your own fear of failing.
Simply put, we need to reframe how we look at failure because it will happen — we need to deal with it, learn from it and move on.
Here are quotes from the greats telling you too:
“Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” – Babe Ruth
“Giving up is the only sure way to fail.” – Gena Showalter
“Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.” – C.S. Lewis
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” – Paolo Coelho
“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
“We are all failures – at least the best of us are.” – J.M. Barrie
Failure is nothing to be scared of, and according to the greats, it is good for you and gets you to success.
Why is failure good for you?
1. It’s An Important Part Of Your Road To Success
Very, very rarely (if at all) does anyone hit a home run the first time they pick up a bat. To get to success, you have to go through failure to grow. You have to swing and miss, you have to fall off the bike, you have to fail at something and get up and keep going.
Regarding his work creating the light bulb, Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” What if he had quit at each of those failures?
2. You Will Never Succeed If You Don’t Try
The only way to succeed is to try, but unfortunately by trying, there is always a chance of failure. The fear of failure will hold you back and prevent you from ever starting.
Think of how ridiculous that is. You might not reach success because you’re afraid to even try, not because you’ve failed.
I’ll say it again. The fear of failure will only hold you back. It’s not benefiting you. It’s killing your dreams more than failure itself will.
3. You Will Learn More Through Failure Than Research
You can read books, watch videos, and find mentors, and sure, you can definitely learn these ways. But I truly believe that failure is the best teacher you will ever find.
It will give you insight and perspective on what worked, what didn’t work, how to move forward, and how to avoid these roadblocks next time.
This type of learning is so valuable and spot on, people pay professionals to teach them secrets to success, which those professionals themselves learned through failure.
4. Failing Does NOT Mean The End Of The Road
Why do people think that failure is the end? Unless you die from it, in the future you can always try again. Situations change, circumstances improve, and maybe you’ll have more luck next time.
If we didn’t get back up when we fell learning to walk, we’d still be crawling. As long as you don’t quit when you fail, then you can still learn and improve and try again.
5. Failure Means You Did Something
The fact that you failed means you actually started something, which is more than most people do. Get past the fact that it didn’t work and give credit where credit is due.
You took a chance towards success, and that is so much better than most people will ever do. Failure is a badge that shows you tried, and you should wear it with honor.
6. Failure Changes Your Perspective
Besides just learning from it, by failing you can gain insight and see things that you weren’t aware of before. Now you know about that pothole you fell into, so don’t do it again. This only makes the road to success smoother, and the journey will be worth it when you remember what you went through to reach it.
7. Failure Makes You More Resilient To Future Change
Failure is your crash course into handling change, and that is so valuable. The road to success is bumpy, and things can change quickly. You will make mistakes, you will fail, and even if you did everything right, changes outside of your control can happen. Just like things will happen in your life.
It won’t get you down, though. You’ve failed before; you’ve been there. It’s not scary, so now you are ready to deal with it.
Getting over the fear of failure will still take time. Reading a few quotes won’t cure you, but try to learn how to think of it as a positive.
Next Time You Fail (Spoiler Alert, It Will Happen):
1. Don’t beat yourself up. It won’t help.
2. Don’t quit. Give it another try.
3. Come at it from a different angle. See if there’s something you were missing.
4. Get advice. Whether from someone you know, a podcast, or a website, I promise someone out there has already failed at what you’re trying and will teach you what they know.
5. Remember that everyone makes mistakes and fails. You’re not special.
6. Nobody will remember your failures. Even as professionals, Babe Ruth and Michael Jordan still made mistakes and lost games, but we remember them for their successes, not their failures.
7. Take a break. Maybe you need to pause for a while. That’s okay — come back to it at any time in the future.
Failure will not last unless you give up. As long as you try again, you can still succeed.