It’s not our successes that matter. Rather it’s our failures: here is where we grow.
I don’t remember where I heard this first or who said it, but it hit a chord with me. Fear of failure often stops me from embarking on projects or setting goals because, well, I might fail. However, it is in the act of recovering from failure that I learn and grow. I see that walking the smooth path to get to a destination is all well and good. I can check out the sites along the way. And it’s all nice and good when I arrive at my destination, but I haven’t learned anything.
I’ve aged, but I haven’t grown.
Ask yourself the question: which vacation do you talk about the most? Is it the one where everything went completely as planned or the one where everything went wrong? It’s the unplanned events that happen in a vacation that make it memorable: the trip to the local emergency ward, the flat tire in the middle of a river, even the visit to the police station to report a robbery. It’s the out of the ordinary things, the unpredictable, the ‘failures’ that give us the stories of our lives.
In failing, I learn. By falling I learn how to get back up again. By being road blocked, I seek another way around. This is where the growth happens. By learning what doesn’t work I am one step closer to learning what does work. And once I have learned what does work, I don’t have to repeat the lesson the next time I am passing through a similar situation. I can learn from my missteps and mistakes. I am a different person from when I started out.
It’s still a struggle for me. I don’t want to fail. I don’t like to fail. Sometimes I don’t even attempt things because I fear I might fail. That’s the perfectionist in me coming out. So I push myself to try new things, to go new places and meet new people. I am not satisfied in maintaining the status quo: I want to move forward. And part of that includes trying things that don’t or won’t work. So I am working on changing my perception of failure, one day at a time, one step at a time.
Actor Will Smith gives us his take on Failure in the following video: Fail Forward