Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Failing

Can you think of something in your life you’ve truly wanted to do but have yet to start simply because you’re afraid to fail?

I could probably jot down a long enough list under this category.  I blame my super Type-A personality on that one.  Really though, what’s the holdup?  Often time it’s the initial thoughts that go along with failing: setback, disappointment, and not good enough.  We don’t want to go through those things or feel that way, so we have a fear of failure.  My favorite quote when it comes to this topic is from Thomas Edison who said, “I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Because really, any effort you put into something will lead to some result.  It may not be the outcome you wanted, but you will learn something.  Whatever that may be will change and impact your future decisions and actions and ultimately gets you closer to where you want to be.  Did it not for Thomas Edison?  Why not you?

Broadly looking at others people’s successes it’s easy to ignore the path they had to take to get to where they are today.  It’s easy to look at their success and envy it while not considering how many trial and errors they faced to get where they are.  There are many great examples of failure related to some very successful people.  Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.  Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper for lacking imagination and having no original ideas.  Oprah was demoted from her job as a news anchor because she wasn’t fit for television.  J.K. Rowling was turned down by multiple publishers for years.  It’s easy to look back now and laugh, but those were real struggles they all went through, but to see how worth it their efforts were shouldn’t be anything less than inspiring.

Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.

Fear causes us to stop, to not even try.  Fear causes us to not make a decision until we believe we can be sure of an outcome.  Often, this is not possible.  We must accept that.  If we cannot breach the fear of failure, our ideas, our goals and dreams will never be anything more than a passing thought or prolonged day dream if you’re anything like me.  Failure gives us knowledge, experience, and the ability to not do something and make a turn in the right direction toward your ultimate goal.  Failure can be used as a tool and we shouldn’t be so afraid to use it as that to build the life we want, the ideas we have, and reach our goals.

Depending on your personality, fear of failure can also come from being risk adverse.  When this is the case I recommend lessening the risk as much as you possibly can, and then putting in your best effort.  That’s as good as it gets.

Goals often take our time, and money, could risk a relationship, involve quitting a job, or moving.  It’s understandable that risking those things or making huge changes would cause fear, but don’t allow fear to prevent you from pursing a goal.  Build a strong foundation for you to step out on and begin your journey.

First, write out your goal.  Now what are the first steps you would take to start working toward it?  This is often where people stop.  They have a great idea, and so badly want it, but then they think about the first steps and they step back and do nothing; thinking they don’t have the time or the money, the education, or experience.  There are many ways to start pursing a goal that doesn’t have put as much risk into the endeavor, and lessens the fear, which allows you to get started.  Obviously it would be nice to quit your job to start a business, or put thousands of dollars into a startup but, that’s often not feasible, or even a good idea.  When it comes to limited funds, many ideas can be bootstrapped.  You may have already thought of thousands of dollars you could appropriately spend and you may have even convinced yourself that you need to spend X amount to even try your idea.  That’s just not true.  Would it make it 10x easier, heck ya.  But that’s not the way to prove an idea; a dream can become successful by taking the time and doing the leg work without much money invested.

If not having enough hours in the day is your holdup, often you can find the time, you just have to choose what you’re doing with your time.  Check out this post for more talk on finding time.  Whatever your goal is you have to want it more than anything else.  Work through your fears of failing and then simplify your first steps to lessen the risk, and allow you to go for it.

If you don’t try you may as well guarantee you’ll be in exactly the same place you are now, one year from now.  Is that not failure in itself?  Failure is proof you tried.  Now go try again.


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