Failure is really scary. No one wants to look stupid, be ridiculed, or be seen as a loser. That’s what failure means to most of us. It’s that definition that gives the idea of failure all of its power over us.
What if failure didn’t mean any of those things? What if it was like a video game; when your character dies, you lose, but at the click of a button you are alive again and you have new information with which to play the game better next time? Imagine what we could accomplish!
After years of being paralyzed by my own fear of failure, I’ve learned that the ability to take risks is much more valuable than having people think you’re perfect. So I no longer allow myself to view failure as anything but a learning experience. This one change in my perception has drastically altered my decision making process for the better.Here are some tricks to use everyday to maintain a healthy relationship with failure :
- Push yourself beyond your comfort zone, regularly. Take a dance class, go karaokeing, learn a new instrument. It takes courage to be bad at something. Be courageously bad on a regular basis and see what happens.
- Replace your picture of a typical “loser” with an image of Thomas Edison, Michael Jordan or just about any other successful person who most likely failed A LOT before he/she succeeded. Today’s loser is very often tomorrow’s big winner.
- Surround yourself with friends who support you and have the same view of failure as you do.
- When you are worried about a particular outcome, imagine all the ways that unwanted outcome could be a good thing. What will you know that you didn’t know before?
- Let go of your need to maintain a particular “image”. Allow yourself to be foolish and have fun.
- Say yes more often than you say no. New opportunities will be scarce unless you are open and not terrified of failure.
- Yes your ideas. If you have an idea that you think is a good one, act on it with confidence. Be your own greatest support. You will be amazed at what you can accomplish.
- Stop comparing yourself to other people. Their failure doesn’t mean your success and vice versa. There is enough happiness and success to go around.
Making friends with failure is a life-long process. I can’t say that failure and I are best buds or anything. But I can say that I now see failure’s positive attributes and I’ve actually embraced it. I’ve learned that failure’s twin is success and embracing one means the other will be that much more accessible.
“The difference between failure and success is doing a thing nearly right and doing a thing exactly right.” – Edward Simmons