Did you know that we can eliminate failure from our lives?
We can learn to completely avoid failure. It sounds crazy, but it is true.
Why is this important? Because you can’t live a safe life and experience all it has to offer. It isn’t possible. Period. End of story. So, what is holding us back? Failure. We are afraid we might fail so we live safe, boring lives.
In order to live life to the fullest, you’ve got to stick your neck out. You’ve got to take some risks. You’ve got to make yourself and those around you think you are crazy once in awhile. You’ve got to push your own personal boundaries. You’ve got to get away from what is normal for you.
Get the picture?
Normal and safe are places where failure seldom happens, but also where personal growth and a full life are as rare as a unicorn’s horn. If you want to live a great life, then you’ve got to learn to eliminate failure as a possibility.
So, what’s the problem with failure? Why are we so afraid of it? Well, it is generally thought of as the opposite of success. It is the circumstance where our efforts end producing less than what we expected in terms of results.
I’ve spent a good deal of my life fighting failure. I hate to fail. I’ve gone to some extreme lengths to keep myself clear of anything that even looks like it might fail. This keeps me from trying new things which holds me back from the best life I can be living.
However, I think I’ve had the wrong idea about failure for a long time and I’d suggest that maybe you have too. We shouldn’t be so afraid of failure because we can virtually eliminate it from our lives with the right understanding of it.
To begin to understand it, let’s examine when it occurs. What constitutes a failure? Please look at my original definition again. I said, “It is the circumstance where our efforts end producing less than we expected in terms of results.”
All to often, we get to a low point and quit. That low point only truly becomes a failure if it is the final stop in our journey. If we quit, then we fail.
If we try something, get to a low point and then give up how is that going to lead to a better life? It won’t, it can’t and it never will. Your low point immediately becomes failure in the moment that you quit.
We’ve got to press on to succeed. We’ve got to start recognizing the difference between a low point and failure in order to eliminate failure from our lives and our minds.
We’ve become so afraid of failure that when we get to a low point, the hint that failure is a possibility, we simply give up because we don’t want to risk throwing anymore of our time, energy or resources into something that might fail. Of course, by quitting we immediately seal the deal without giving ourselves another chance.
Again, what we usually accept as failure is really just a low point that we need to learn to move past.
These low points are just places we pass through on our way to where we want to go. Some last longer than others and some are more stubborn than others, but we can get through them if we keep going.
We can’t let our fear of failure keep us from trying new things. Instead, we have to learn to eliminate failure as a possibility because it severely limits our personal growth.
Another problem with failure is that we usually take it one step further to the extreme detriment of our personal growth. When we quit, we decide then and there that we aren’t good at whatever we feebly tried and immediately dismiss it entirely for any further consideration in our lives.
Let me give you an example of how this usually goes. Let’s say, I think I’d like to learn to draw. I buy a book, read a little and then sit down to draw my first picture. It looks like crap because unless I’m just unusually gifted, I can’t learn to draw in just one sitting.
A friend or family member sees my crappy drawing and laughs. Based on this one drawing, I give up, embarrassed at myself for trying something so ridiculous and decide right then and there that I can’t draw. I then go forward in my life believing I can’t draw and never trying it again because I’ve already failed at it before. After all, why would I risk embarrassing myself again?
Does this sound familiar? What things have you decided based on a very limited amount of experience that you aren’t good at and that you should never try again? This is yet another reason we need to eliminate failure as a possibility in our lives.
Okay, so how do we start to eliminate failure from our lives? I have three suggestions that I’d like to offer you that will get you heading down the right path.
Here are three ways to eliminate failure and open up to a whole new level of personal growth:
Growing means trying something new. Most of us are bad at things when we are beginners. However, we won’t give ourselves permission to be crappy at first so we can learn to be good later. Learning is a process. One that involves making mistakes and learning from those mistakes to get better. Our egos are often so fragile that we can’t bear to be bad at something long enough to learn enough to succeed at it. Don’t quit and accept failure. Instead, give yourself permission to be crappy!
Back to my drawing example for a moment, I should expect my first drawings to be crappy, but I should know that by continuing to draw and seeking instruction that I can get better. Quitting is the only sure path to failure. If we refuse to quit, then we eliminate failure from our lives. We can’t let our initial crappiness deter us from continuing toward later success.
As adults, we are particularly bad at letting ourselves be crappy. It doesn’t matter if it is drawing, bowling, dating, gardening, investing, blogging or running a business. We have to allow ourselves time to move through the crappy stage in order to learn enough to succeed.
When you reach a low point, the place where you think you’re never going to get it and that you’ve made too many mistakes to recover, stop and re-evaluate your approach. You may need to come at your goal from a whole new angle or you may need to seek to fulfill your goal in a different way.
Let’s say you want to publish a book. You’ve written a book and you have submitted it to numerous publishers with no success. You want to quit because you are discouraged, but instead what if you sought input and rewrote the book to make it more marketable? Or what if you self-published the book and sold it on your own blog site? With a little success, you might be able to sell that book to a publisher or write another that a publisher would accept. Learn from your low points and try a new approach to find success and eliminate failure.
I’d encourage you to make a list of the things that you think you’re no good at. The things where you’ve failed in the past. I’d suggest to you that at one time you had a desire to try these things and there’s a good chance you’d still like to do them. You just don’t think you can. Why not challenge that assumption?
You can resurrect a past failure and eliminate it from your life by making it a success now. Give yourself another chance armed with the understanding that you need to allow yourself time to be crappy and that low points are learning opportunities. I think you might find you really can do a lot more than you think.
Isn’t the thought that you can fix an old failure exciting? After all, if you can do these things, then what else can you do? You can do anything because failure is no longer a possibility for you!
Failure only happens when you quit. You may experience several low points along the path to success, but as long as you don’t give up, then you can still pull out a win. It might not look exactly like you envisioned in the beginning, but that’s okay. Life requires flexibility. Wrap your mind around the ideas I’ve presented here and you will eliminate failure as a possibility and live a truly fantastic life!
Craig is the founder of LifeGuider, he is dedicated to improving not only himself but also others in being more physically fit and mentally capable of handling life’s challenges. He is not your regular life coach, no fancy clothes or fast cars, just a regular “Ole Joe” who has experienced the ups and downs of life like everyone else.
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