Failure: the new F-word taboo

Picture the following situation: you are walking down the street when you run into an old friend you haven’t seen in a long time. You say hello and they ask you how you’ve been and what you are up to these days.

This is a situation that would look quite normal but let’s stop to analyze it a bit deeper. When people ask such things, what do they REALLY mean? Are they asking if you are happy and spiritually fulfilled or maybe if you are in good health? Maybe, yes. But sometimes it’s the case that what they want to know about is your success. And by success, they often mean a high economic situation.

We live in societies in which materialism is the norm. Money is a synonym for success. If this is the case, it’s only natural if that this concept is where the fear of failure comes. The wanting for more can drive a person mad if he/she is not satisfied with what’s already there. This is why failure has become such a dreaded thing.

I mean, it’s okay to want things, especially those which motivate us to keep going forward. But letting them control your happiness? Maybe not the ideal situation, wouldn’t you agree?

We would have to make clear what success really means to each one of us (and whatever your idea of it, it’s fine). Can we measure success? Most of the times, it is relative. We couldn’t just come up with a scale that determines how successful a person is. At least, it shouldn’t work like that.

Trying to “meet the mark”

Everyone will put their own expectations on you. It’s more than obvious that you will never be able to fulfill them all. Success is a highly personal concept which is constructed by the person alone and if someone else does not agree with it, then that is their problem.

When the judgements are haunting you, you will never bring yourself to getting near those opportunities. You may not even see them properly because you’ll be more busy thinking about whatever is not happening at the moment.

There will always be someone who judges you. What they don’t know is how you are growing inside. They can only see the outside of you. So a positive attitude would be to not blaming them for judging but trying to understand and being okay with it. This is the first step toward overcoming the taboo.

Measuring the failure

Well then, if we can’t really measure success, it would mean that we cannot measure failure either, right?

If you let fear control your every moment there may come a point where it could take over important aspects of your life. You may find yourself not doing anything at all because you’ll be thinking of all the reasons why it could go wrong. Keep in mind that the possibilities for good things are as endless as those for not so good things.

Nobody should make you feel bad for what you are or the “amount of success” you have achieved. Not even yourself. Well, especially not yourself.

It’s quite simple, really. If you are afraid of failing, you may be missing out many of the chances which could actually lead you to success. But guess what, there is only one way to find out.

On the other hand, losing the fear of failure does not mean pushing yourself to do foolish things. It means having complete faith on yourself, knowing how to make a plan and trusting your gut on what to do if the plan fails.

Success (almost) never comes at the first try

You should know that the knowledge that comes with learning from failure could be one of the most valuable you can get. Sure, you can read about it or hear another person’s experience. Make note of it. But nobody will be able to LIVE it for you because it’s such a personal thing that one way or another, you eventually have to face it anyway.

That’s what this peculiar and jolly road we call life is about, is it not? It’s about not giving up. Trying, maybe failing and learning how to get up and try and try again. You never know what may come so let’s make it worth.

We should all only embrace failure because it is one of the aspects of life that drives us to learn more from it and keep growing into the people who really aspire to be. Think about this and tell me, who wouldn’t genuinely want that?


Originally published at Miha Matlievski — Fail Coach.

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