Find The Courage To Fail

Roberto Nickson
Roberto Nickson

It’s now February.

How are those New Year’s Resolutions coming along? Are you still plugging away, or – like the majority of Americans – have you already given up?

Here’s the thing – a key advantage that children have over adults is curiosity unburdened by shame.

Children aren’t afraid of looking foolish as they start new activities. They aren’t as easily embarrassed.

By the time we hit age 25, however, it’s that much harder to start something new, knowing that we’ll suck at it for at least six months. 
Whether it’s ballroom dancing, tennis, or playing the guitar – it’s that much harder to swallow your pride and do it anyway.

Because at the end of the day, even the most renowned experts started as beginners.

Remember – basketball legend Michael Jordan failed to make his varsity basketball team his sophomore year of high school.

And NBA star Kobe Bryant holds the league record for missed shots. Despite averaging more than 25 points per game, he’s missed more that 13,766 of the shots he’s taken in his career.

One of the best pieces of advice I have received came from the author of more than a dozen books.

She asked the group of aspiring authors, “Do you think you could write a book in a year?”

Few heads nodded.

She then changed the question: “Do you think you could write a bad book in a year?”

And that – that one word – changed everything.

I live in Washington, DC, a town dominated by geeks and perfectionists. We work hard and play hard. People here are as competitive about their volunteer groups as they are about their careers.

But that mindset also makes it that much harder to start something new – to embrace that you might be the worst painter in the class or the slowest runner in the entire race.

The answer, then, is to embrace your amateur status and start anyway. Because it’s not about Day 1. It’s about Day 365 plus 1.

“Success is most often achieved by those who don’t know that failure is inevitable.” – Coco Chanel

If I had one with for you this year – one New Year’s Resolution that you strive to keep for the remaining 11 months – it is this:

Don’t be afraid to be a beginner.

Summon the courage to fail.

Allow yourself to look goofy and screw up miserably.

Because that is the first step on the road to mastery. TC mark

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