Why Failing Is Not Failure
The risk of trying something new is that you might fail and for some of us the fear of failure can stop us trying in the first place. I thought about this when I first started running; and again, when I picked up a canvas and applied oil paint to it; and again when I led our church to the purchase of a derelict building that needed more money to restore it than we could have ever dreamed of owning.
The thoughts of failure around such things are palpable and they can paralyse us. The fear of failure can breed procrastination quicker than rabbits breed bunnies. The result of this is we settle. We settle for what we know and what makes us feel comfortable and safe. Which is fine as far as safe goes - but the problem with safe is it shuts us down to risk and risk is what we need if we ever want to live past being safe.
Safe is good as far as it goes. There's great comfort to know you are in 'safe hands' if you have to go to theatre for an operation. Safe is less attractive if it prevents progress. That’s when safe has passed its' limits and instead of being about protection it becomes about fear and all of a sudden, we are shackled. The problem with living shackled is fear sets the boundaries of life and from there we start to adopt limits that are neither aspirational or joyful - we give in and eventually give up and that’s no way to live.
So instead of fearing failure we should adopt it. We should see that failure is part of succeeding, evolving and attaining our potential. Failure instead of being seen as an enemy to be avoided should be seen as a tutor in the journey of living well. When failure becomes an educator rather than eradicator you enter one of the deepest learning circles available to you.
If you can embrace self-criticism you open up the door of learning from every area of life including your failures. In this place of inner analysis, you ask yourself questions - lots of questions and when this is applied to an area of failure you open yourself up to exponential growth. Apply this to your life and things will start to change immediately. You will read situations, opportunities and people better. You will learn from your experiences - and this matters a lot especially in the areas of relationships and self-leadership.
When learning from failure is part of the decision-making process, you are making a potential step into greatness - or at least progress. If what you step into fails - it doesn’t make you a failure, it simply proves that you are not prepared to settle for what you already possess. Learn from it - analyse it; apply self-critique; pray; talk to friends - but don’t stop. Brush yourself down, take some time out and then start again. Your failures are not the end of you – understood correctly, they are in fact the making of you.
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