Dealing with Failure
Updated: Jun 23, 2019
How many of us have a fear of failure? How many times have you stopped pursuing your goals, or perhaps you didn’t even set them to begin with, because you were afraid of failing? We have all been at that cross roads, trying to decide if we should take the easier path or be aggressive and get out of our comfort zone, but sometime it seems that there is some force holding us back that we have to push past. I think the perfect example of not fearing failure is when you see kids running around and trying new things. When a child first learns to stand there is surprise in their face. When they first learn to walk they also learn to fall and they don’t view the fall as failure. Somewhere along the way as we get older our mindset changes and instead of learning from the times we didn’t reach our goals, some of us stop pursing them completely because we feel as though we failed by not reaching them the first time. Where did this thought process come from?! Now we don’t try something because that feeling of failure hurts us emotionally?
Michael Jordan once said “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” Obviously, he makes a great point. If you stay content where you are and never try anything new, you’ll never fail. On the other hand, it may hit you even harder when you finally do fail because all you will have really experienced in life is success. There is another famous quote, “If at first you don’t succeed try, try again” which combines perfectly with Jordan’s quote. When we do not succeed, we find what worked and what did not work with our strategy. We can change our approach and try again with this new knowledge. We may not be successful the second, third, or even fourth time, but until you’ve exhausted all options how can you give up? Every time you ‘fail’ you also learn, which is the only way to grow.
So, why not get out and try a new activity or set that challenging goal today? Maybe you finally retired and want to try a new sport. Perhaps you are done with your high school or college running career and have always wanted to pursue a marathon. Or, could this be the year you finally hike your first 14’er? There will be hiccups along the way as you pursue your goals, but don’t let those things discourage you! If something knocks you back a few steps pick yourself up, learn from it, and press forward!