We all love success. We celebrate successful people around us. We admire them, and sometimes we do wonder what sets them apart. We want to know what really motivates them to take the steps towards whatever they accomplish? Is there something specific that they did that helped them achieve their goals? Of course, we all know that they have plans, strategies, and tactics that eventually led to the outcome that they got, but the very first step starts with one thing – the courage to fail.
If you are going into any endeavor where you already have a 100% chance of achieving success, it means you have either set the bar too low, or the outcome will not make much of an impact in your life. For example, it will be hard to recognize it as a success if a high school senior sat for and pass a Kindergarten math exam. All things being equal, this high school student should ace the simple arithmetic because the bar was already set too low for him, and passing 1+1 will not have any meaningful impact on his life. On the other hand, if the same student took and passed a college-level exam, that can be recognized as a feat. He would be celebrated.
It therefore means that every worthwhile accomplishment must challenge and stretch us beyond our immediate capabilities. It is the daunting nature and the intricacies of figuring out what must be done that hold many people back from starting in the first place. They focus on the downside of their endeavor, and they come up with various excuses and reasons why they should not make an attempt. They spare little time to analyze the best-case scenario of their plans. And as a result, they justify why they can’t achieve their goals. They lack the courage to fail.
The courage to fail helps you to attempt your plans when you are not guaranteed any automatic success. It is about taking a step towards your goals, even when there are chances of failing. It is about following your instincts when everything else around you is telling you to shrink back. The highly successful people have this quality; they move forward, carefully, of course, despite the possibility of failing. They dare to fail.
Without the courage to fail, you won’t attempt; and without attempting, you can’t know if you will succeed.
A building that was not started will never become a home.
A company that was never started will never become profitable.
A book that was never written has no chance of becoming a best seller.
A piece of music that was not composed cannot make it to the Emmy.
A movie that was not acted on has no chance of winning the Academy award.
Any idea that was never acted upon has no chance of becoming a success.
So what is holding you back from accomplishing your goals? Why is it that you have not started your business? Why haven’t you enrolled in that evening program? What stopped you from applying for that job – that you know you wanted? Why didn’t you bid for that government project?
Why did you not come forward and take that leadership position? What is preventing you from running for an elected office? Why have you not written a book, compose a piece of music, or put a band together even though you desire it so much?
When we think about it, we all have something within us that, from time to time, tells us we can accomplish more, that we can become more, that we can rise to fulfill our potentials. But often, we shrink back because of the thought, the concern of failing. We asked ourselves – what if it does not work out as we desire? What if we fail in this endeavor?
The fear of failure or the lack of “Courage to Fail” makes people stop on their tracks without moving forward on their plans. This concern makes them not think of what they want but focus on what could go wrong.
If you want to change your life, you’ve got to start by changing your thoughts. So the next time when you have a goal or plan about things you want to accomplish:
Don’t ask, what if I fail. Instead, ask – how can I succeed?
The “how question” is a powerful way to utilize our mental capacity to our benefit. When you use this question, you set your brain into action to figure out what you must do to achieve your goals?
When you set out with doubts and ask questions like – what if my plans did not work out? What if I don’t get the job? What if my business fails? You are crushing your creativity and limiting your brainpower. That is destructive. On the other hand, if you ask the question – How can I achieve my goals? What exactly do I need to do to take me from where I am today to get to where I want to be in a year or two from now – you are empowering yourself to go after your desires.
By changing your questions, you can change your outcome. You should consider making the following changes:
- Instead of What if my business fails? You should ask, how can I make this company successful?
- Instead of – What if I can’t make more money? You should ask, – how can I make more money?
- Instead of – What if I don’t get that job? You should ask, – How can I get the job?
- Instead of – What if I can’t pass my exams? You should ask, – How/what do I need to do in order to pass my exams?
- Instead of – What if I write the book but can’t find readers? You should ask, – How can I build communities of people around my content?
I know, you may ask, what if I try and fail? My response is, what if you try and you succeed? In any case, if things didn’t go the way you planned, you must have learned some lessons, such that, when next you try, you would have improved your chances of success. A plan that you set in motion that did not succeed is better than the ones in your brain that you never execute.
So it would be best if you had the courage to fail to take the necessary steps to move you forward towards your goals.