In Hollywood actor Will Smith’s words: “Failure is a massive part of being able to be successful. You have to get comfortable with failure. You have to actually seek failure. Failure is where all the lessons are.”
I’ve been thinking about this word a lot lately. My twin and I discuss failing and falling and then failing again, and again, and again. My best friend and I have been talking about it. We’ve been pondering over the word failure.
I realised all of us as human beings are a little bit afraid of this word.
It sounds huge and almost final. It sounds like the end of something you put your everything into or something you have miserably and terribly been defeated in. But it’s not true. It is just NOT true.
It’s not your fault or my fault or anybody’s fault to be afraid of this word. We’ve been taught by society, our families, friends and just people around us that failure is bad and the opposite of it, which is success, is good. Our brains have been rewired throughout our lives to somehow only look at wins, gains, success or coming first. Because anything less than that means you’re a failure or you have failed at life.
Because if you don’t get married by a certain age you’re a failure. If you don’t get the dream job or have a 9 to 5, you’re a failure. If you don’t get the grades your parents want, you’re a failure.
But how can your life be only good? How can you always be successful? What would the point of your life be if you just kept floating through it unharmed and unscathed? What would you learn? How would you grow?
The point of failure isn’t to let you know that this is it and now there is nothing to look forward to. This is the end. But instead, it sometimes shows you what you have to work hard at, or learn from, move away from, grow from and sometimes change in order to move forward in your life.
Failure doesn’t mean you stop living but to fight like hell and “laugh in the face of danger”, like Simba said in The Lion King. Because failure is just a word disguised as danger which tricks us into feeling like we can’t do more because it’s dangerous to fail.
In a speech I heard, author JK Rowling said these words that touched my heart:
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all—in which case, you fail by default.”
Remember when you were a kid and you ran around fearlessly without worrying about falling or getting hurt? Remember when you felt like you could fly? Remember then growing up and being afraid of the same things that made you feel free?
Why is it that we let the fear of failing get in our way?
It’s okay if you didn’t get the grades. It’s okay if you didn’t get the girl/boy. It’s okay if your business didn’t work out. It is OKAY if your life hasn’t gone the way you planned for it.
Sometimes God has a better plan for us than we do for ourselves. And sometimes he needs to knock us on our heads, break our hearts, tear us down to move us into the direction of our destiny. Just believe in yourself. (Just a little to begin with, if not a lot)
Failure sometimes is life’s way of telling us that it’s time to change the course of your life. If all of us let Failure get in our way there would be no Maya Angelou, there would be no Oprah Winfrey, there wouldn’t be a Steve Jobs or Jeff Bezos, there would be no Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, Michael Jordan, Denzel Washington, Jim Carrey, Tony Robbins, Robin Sharma, Les Brown, Barrack Obama and all the other names you have heard.
Do not let failure stop you. It is just a stepping stone to your next victory and then your next and then again. Failure will come knocking again after your biggest win and then it’ll leave because failure isn’t permanent.
So don’t be afraid. Just like the child inside of you be fearless. Nothing can affect you without your permission.
Failure will make you see and feel things success never will. Just be open to listening.
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
“I’ve probably earned the right to screw up a few times. I don’t want the fear of failure to stop me from doing what I really care about.”
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”
—Robert F Kennedy
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
I could put hundreds more quotes here and they would all eventually mean the same. All the greats talking about the same thing. Coincidence? I think not.