Who in your life is perfect? Think about it. Who? The obvious answer should, without a considerable amount of doubt be, “no one”. Yes, I understand that your mother is a wonderful woman, but despite how much you may believe, no, not even her. So if no one is flawless, why are so many people afraid to fail? Perfection is literally impossible, yet perfection is what most people expect. The irony. We are taught that failures translate into someone being unable to do something, that you are not good enough to succeed. Simplistically speaking, that is correct, but does that make it right?
Remember that “F” you got in science class, back when you used to attend a science class? Why do you think it hurt so much to get? It was because that grade in essence meant you couldn’t keep up, and no sane person rightfully wants to be left behind. However, it is possible to change the perception of failure. William E. Hickson made famous the quote, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again”. Failure should be treated as a learning experience instead of just a bench mark. View it as a bench mark and you limit yourself. View it as a learning experience and you’ll see yourself grow. That “F” you got in science goes from “this is all I can give” to “just wait till they see me next test”. Failure is important to success in the same way a forest fire, can be vital to the productivity of an ecosystem. Sometimes you need to get burned before you start to thrive.
“I don’t like to lose at anything. Yet I’ve grown most not from victories, but setbacks. If winning is God’s reward, then losing is how he teaches us.”
“You can’t be afraid to fail. It’s the only way you succeed. You’re not going to succeed all the time and I know that.”
If you strive for anything greater than mediocre you cannot be afraid to fail. Period. This goes for anything that you choose to dedicate your life to, not just winning Wimbledon or multiple NBA championships. Plan on pursuing this course, and know it is going to take work. A lot of it. Don’t worry though, in order to minimize the burden, I created a list to help you to better deal with your short comings.
- Analyze what you did wrong
- Don’t do it again
Simple, yes? Yet, sometimes we don’t realize how difficult that is to follow. The key is to be honest with yourself, and understanding that anything you hold back is really just hurting you in the long run. Also practice asking yourself why.
Didn’t get in the gym last week? Why?
Didn’t finish that book you wanted to? Why?
Asking why is the prelude to any solution. Why, leads to how, how leads to solutions and solutions leads to progress.
The successful habitually hone in on their mistakes and that truthful self reflection is what keeps them constantly improving. That is why this week’s challenge is to treat all your failures as successes. Take note of all your failures, from the largest to the smallest, (footnote: largest being that you misplaced the nuclear codes, the weakest being that you had to swipe your Metrocard more than once at the turnstile during rush hour) and figure out where you made your mistake and how you could fix it in the future. For us failure is always an option only because we know greatness consistently stems from adversity.