We’ve been conditioned in life to avoid failure. Even as millennials we have learnt that “there aren’t any losers, we are all winners”. It’s a notion that I believe has created deeper disparities between those that have and those that don’t.
We see failure and we run away from. We’re scared to fail.
But what if we considered failure as part of our overall process to getting towards success? What if we even embraced failure as the reason why we have now succeeded?
I’ve failed at a lot of things in life. I wasn’t any good at constructing clay animals in my third grade art class, I couldn’t grasp the mechanics of scientific writing in high school, and I failed out my first accounting class in college.
But those experiences never stopped me because:
- I turned my lack of clay medium skills into strong skills in sewing and textiles. I can “sculpt” a building with fabric (which I successfully did for an art history class).
- I learned that I really didn’t enjoy scientific writing, which pushed me to further explore creative writing and nonfiction (and now blogging) because I learned that I’m an expressive writer (!!). And, recently, have found the merits of my creative writing background in writing ACADEMIC papers.
- And, I dropped out of my first accounting course, but successfully re-took it (with different teacher) alongside finance and statistic courses, and ended up building an adult financial literacy program over couple of years. I found that I really enjoyed to practical side of financial accounting and how it related to building personal wealth in real life.
What I consistently learn from failure?
I guess the through line for me is that I allowed failure to take me down different paths. I found new ways of doing things, or I tried again using a different approach. Failure has opened so many doors for me, and it has fed my ever-growing curiosity.
I believe we’re afraid of failure because we’re afraid of losing control. Coming from a mostly A-type personality, control is the golden egg of success. Right? But what is the opposite of control? Chaos?
Or is it freedom? And who doesn’t want an autonomous life?
Thus, I’m learning that in order for me to have a successful life filled with liberty and the pursuit of happiness, I HAVE to fail at most of the things I try to do. I’ve learned that if I haven’t failed in a while, I’m probably not trying hard enough and am becoming complacent. Complacency is the death of freedom.
How can YOU fail today?
The best way to fail is to start. You can’t fail if you don’t try, at least, something. To up the ante of failure, I’d suggest trying something that makes you feel uncomfortable…to an extent.
Failure is scary. So true.
But when we try—when we get over that roadblock—nine of ten times the scariness of failure will dissipate into the ethos.
I always find it surprising when I’m afraid to try something, or to speak out about something, how doing so makes me feel more powerful and alive. And those feelings are addictive. They are also in abundance, which means there’s plenty to go around when we push ourselves to step outside of our pre-constructed comfort zones.
How I plan to fail today.
This blog post is a start.
As many creative people know, 25% of doing anything worth doing is putting yourself out there for the world to see. But it’s hard to step into the light. And like most of my blog posts, I’ve (re)drafted this post several times in my mind, thought about not posting it, thought about posting other things less revealing, but finally settled on allowing it to be what it is.
All of my doctoral confessions are extensions of my thoughts and feelings. So, they allow me the opportunity to fail by being vulnerable in a public space. Each post, though, eventually, makes me feel empowered because, by you reading this, my perceived “failure” has already turned into a success.
All of this is because I tried something—I put my writing out there—and allowed my trying (and failing) to roam free.