by Jurgen Grosse-Heitmeyer
(Centurion, South Africa)
Failing is not everyone’s cup o’ tea. Who really wants to fail at anything and have others make comments the likes of “that guy failed at this or that”? Nope, failing is meant for the weak, for those who didn’t prepare properly. It is something to be avoided at all costs. People who fail are judged by others and are seen and treated as outcasts. They do not belong amongst the successful.
Are these your thoughts? Is failure something you try to avoid at all costs? Do you fear failure so much that it stops you from trying new things?
I think it is time to clear the air about what it means to fail.
When we were younger, I’m talking about before we were 8 months young here…. Unless you were a “wunderkind” none of us were able to take steps with the two “left” feet we were given. Every time we tried, our legs would wobble and have us sitting flap-jack-flat back on the floor, just to take another crack at it…. again….and again….and again. Did our constant failure result in us abandoning the effort? I think not. And what are we doing with these same legs nowadays? Yip, you guessed right, we are walking. Just because we were too bold to quit….too “stupid” to realise we weren’t able to walk just yet.
Failing is not a condition. Failure is not final until you say it is. Failure is to be appreciated as the teacher it is. It shows us all the ways not to do certain things. As soon as we find ourselves unwilling to risk failure we stop learning. We all heard the expression that “it is not only from our successes that we learn, but also from our failures”. This is as true as a hot stove plate burning your fingers.
Michael Jordan was dropped from the High School basketball team because he “lacked the skills”. Walt Disney was fired from his job because he “lacked imagination”. Steven Spielberg was denied USC’s prestigious film school – twice. Still, others’ opinion did not prevent these guys from following their calling. Why should you?
Don’t make failure about you. Don’t sit in a corner and sulk about the failures you encountered thinking it’s the end of another world. Get up! Look at what you have done and try another approach. Failure teaches us to innovate. As Edison stated: “I didn’t fail 1000 times. The light bulb was an invention with a 1000 steps”
NEVER, EVER label yourself as a failure. If you do you’ll be…….it’s a subconscious thing. You’ll program yourself and act accordingly. Always keep in mind that great successes were built on failure, frustration and catastrophe.
We have to reawaken that same boldness we had when we were kids. We have to, once again, become the kids who had our parents say that we are too “stupid” to give up. We have to stop thinking of failure as being something unacceptable and acknowledge it as being something vital for progress. We have to again live and do as if we can’t fail.
Till next time
Remember: You can’t risk not trying just because you fear failing.