Why You Should Never Be Afraid of Failure

by Henrik Edberg

Why You Should Never Be Afraid of FailureNote: This is a guest post by Christine MS of Empowered Attraction.

If you’ve ever tried something new and had it fail, I know I’ll find you more interesting to talk to than the guy who has had everything work out.

That guy is never trying anything new. You have courage. You are amassing life experience. You are learning where the strength to get back up comes from. You’re headed somewhere good.

Failure creates new choice

You’ve refined your destination. You’ve reset your priorities. Unfortunately, there is no other way to learn all of this but its worth to you is huge. It’s when you’re down in a hole that you figure out what’s going to pull you back out. This is the time when you take a look around and decide what you’re not willing to give up.

The best part of failure is that it takes your journey on a path it could never have found without.

New doors might reveal themselves, relationships might become stronger, other relationships might dissolve because they are no longer consistent with your new self.

Resist anger

It’s easy to feel resentment. It’s natural. You wouldn’t be true to yourself if you denied its presence. But don’t feed it.

Don’t find reasons to excuse and explain it. Once it gets its grapple hooks into your skin, it does not like to let go. You will carry it around and it will infect your every waking moment.

We’ve all seen this, right? A woman who has chosen (because it is a choice) to clutch anger closely and allow it to color her reaction to everything, new and old. We watch it grow over the years like a cancer, and we see the price the disease makes her pay. We are uncomfortable just being around her.

Where your creativity comes from

Being wrong leads to being creative. If you’re never willing to be wrong, then you’ll never be as innovative as when your imagination is prodded by failure. You’ll just repeat what you already know over and over. That gets stagnant fast.

Children are not afraid of being wrong. They’ll give anything a shot. If it doesn’t work out, they move on to another solution immediately. Grownups become afraid of being wrong.

In a brilliant and very funny talk at TED, Sir Ken Robinson discusses how the education system so stigmatizes mistakes, as does corporate life, that we are taught out of making mistakes. I agree with that.

Some of this fear of failure also comes from the natural loss of flexibility and elasticity that comes with age. I think about this often, because I think seeing it very clearly helps you catch it in yourself and fight back.

Expect to fail some of the time

I believe a visionary teacher or employer will notice the person who takes a chance at a solution much more favorably than someone who won’t. The point is not how it turns out. The point is how another brain assessed the problem and went about solving it.

The point is also that you are taking risk. If you are endlessly conservative, you cannot maximize your potential.

You gain power by overcoming adversity

The more entirely you dismantle the situation you were in, the more entirely you can recreate a new one. The more dramatic the loss, the more far-reaching and encompassing the reconstruction.

Float above yourself and see the larger view of your journey. The scenery is changing. Your experience will influence how you handle every situation and decision from now on.

Most people with a life that appears very positive can give you a list of the negative events that got them there. With maturity comes the patience you need to ride it out. Pretty soon, it will just be something you remember from your past.

Christine MS has written this article in two parts. The companion article is entitled Strength from Tragedy.

Image by Lil Erna.

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{ 9 comments }

Ryan@Prospecting LIFE January 23, 2008 at 6:02 pm

I agree that we should never be afraid of failure. Instead, we should feel the fear and dance with it! Success is built upon failure. Making mistakes and failing is part of the learning curve and without it, we would not be learning anything and all our goals will be unattainable!

JEMi January 24, 2008 at 5:43 am

It takes conscious effort to decide to overcome failure and use it for the possibilities of greater success. It can be scary..

This is a powerful article. I do think its important to use failure to your advantage.

thanks!

Liz @ Creative Liberty January 24, 2008 at 7:34 pm

Your words about creativity are soooo true! One simply cannot innovate without failing, if failure means that one doesn’t succeed in the way they expected to.
Creative and innovative people get their great ideas because they nourish ALL their ideas. The trick is being attached enough to each idea to give it the space and attention it needs, while being able to move on if it clearly is not useful.
I agree that school and businesses have stigmatized failure, to our great peril. It’s important to learn what failure really is (feedback) and how to fail in a resilient manner.
Great post! Thanks for sharing.

Henrik Edberg January 24, 2008 at 11:22 pm

Thank you for the inspiring and insightful post, Christine. And thanks for the comments, guys.

Bartjan January 26, 2008 at 10:14 pm

Steve Pavlina also wrote some interesting stuff about the subject. He suggests that one should redefine “failure” as “learning”. Ever since I read that article I’m a lot less afraid of failure, because it’s true! I see it very clearly in my own life: the failures that were the most frustrating also were the most valuable lessons to me, and from the lessons I’ve learned I benefit every day.

Bridgit January 28, 2008 at 7:14 am

We learn and grow through failure we must embrace it. It is better to try and fail than to never have tried at all. I encourage my students to make mistakes. We must then fix the mistake and then we have learned something new. I think the more we try, make mistakes, and then learn from the whole experience, the easier it will be to try again. Through success comes confidence and only great success comes from reaching for the stars.

Jesse January 28, 2008 at 6:02 pm

An old saying says:
There are no problems, only opportunities.

I am not sure I believe that all the time but when you only think of your problems and what is failing in life, I will only see problems and not see opportunities. I like to turn problems into opportinities. I cannot stand negativity. It sucks the life out of you. When I look for solutions to my problems,I want to focus on what will attract opportunities. The kind that will lead to resolving bad situations. The reality is focusing on the problem never got answers.

Anonymous January 31, 2008 at 2:46 pm

I am afraid of being a failure

moshood March 10, 2010 at 1:39 pm

Nice post….Finally, i got to realize that if one is willing to achieve something in life,one should be prepared to fail. Come to think of a think, failure is actually a cross road to success.

I remember when it was time for me to walk, just like every able-baby on earth would do, I tried standing and fell. Sometimes might got hurt.

Did my parents warn me not to try doing that again? Obviously, no parents would say that. Mine didn’t say that either because they definitely know that if I didn’t fall, I wouldn’t be able to walk- same goes for every baby in this world. The best way to act towards failure is doing the same thing parents do to their child when he his about taking his first step; motivate

The blog http://www.gettingyourfreedom.blogspot.com/ talks perfectly about the topic.

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