You’re Gonna Fail, So Get Over It!
I’ve come to realize that the human experience is failure. As human beings we are wired to fail, our “default” switch is failure. We’re born into a sinful world plagued with flaws and are destined to die someday, and that is perfectly fine with me.
Once I allowed myself to accept failure as a part of life, I began to experience true success. I used to avoid failure like the plague. I disliked the bitter taste of embarrassment when others would witness my failures and my weaknesses were exposed. I hated to fail so much so that I would over prepare and become unpleasant when I pursued activities that meant something to me. I became overly competitive and I would avoid activities that presented a high risk of failure. I was limiting my chances of success and stunting my life experiences, because of my attitude towards failure.
I wish I could say I had a moment of clarity that changed my attitude towards failure, I didn’t. My attitude changed over time as I became mature and surrounded myself with successful people. I observed others that I respected and learned what attributed to their success.
I discovered that the common theme among successful people was their willingness to fail. I used to be amazed at the fantastic and very public ways some of my heroes failed, but as I continued to study the people behind success, I began to expect failure as part of their journey. In fact, I can truly say I’ve never studied or met a successful person that has not had failure as a constant companion.
It finally occurred to me that failure is necessary for success, why? I’ve come up with three reasons:
- Failure is a filter. Not everyone can win. Life demands winners and losers. Failure weeds out the people that lack the desire to truly win at a particular task or activity. If you’re not committed to a task, then failure will expose your lack of interest and force you to quit.
- Everything has a cost. Desire comes at a cost and failure is your payment. Like an entrance into a theme park or a toll on a road, you must eventually pay to play, but once you do, you are free to explore what success truly has to offer. We tend to cherish things more when there is a cost compared to things that are free. We take care of the things we pay for and we discard the stuff that’s free, which is why success tastes so good, because in order to obtain it, you pay for it with your failures.
- Failure breeds appreciation. I appreciate a hot shower because I went weeks without a shower when I deployed with the US Army to Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1996. There was no running water, so we didn’t shower for a long time, and when we finally did get access to a shower, it was ice cold! Twenty years later, I still appreciate a hot shower, because I know what it feels like to not have one available. Failure forces you to face the unpleasant side of life. It’s uncomfortable and hard, but once you overcome it, you never forget the feeling of failure and will appreciate the success you achieved as a result, because you truly earned it.
We all desire success and want to experience life to the fullest. Failure is very much a part of that experience and as soon as we accept failure as a part of the journey, the sooner we can begin to experience what life has to offer. The next time you fail, embrace it and realize that you are one step closer to success. How will you fail today?