Jock stared intently at his frisbee. His front feet shuffled restlessly on the edge of the bank as he tried to reach for it. It was balanced precariously on a branch just above the running river below. He made a jump for it and fell short. His lanky legs flailed in the air before dropping into the river, soaking his entire body. He scrambled ungracefully to shore again and went back to the bank’s edge again, barking at the frisbee as though saying, “I’m gonna get you!”
He repositioned himself, squared his feet and made a tremendous leap. He snapped his jaws and just barely missed his frisbee by a hairline and fell into the river again. However, his front leg caught a branch on the way down, toppling the frisbee just beside him. He managed to clamp his jaws around the frisbee before it got swept away. He then clamber up to shore, feeling extremely pleased with himself as he walked back to the field. Jock’s first failure did not deter him. In fact, it inspired him to try again before he succeeded.
How do you cope with reaching your goals? When you fail the first time, how do you feel? Do you see each failure as a denial? Or do you see them as delays? Does it dampen your mood, reduce your fire within or provide you with an alibi to give up? Or do they make you grit your teeth to try harder, strengthen your resolve and wake your inspiration to be more creative in your approach?
Many people forget that they possess the fearlessness that they were born with as their god-given right. When we were babies learning to walk, every step that allowed us to fall as our legs and balance were not ready yet, did not deter us. In fact, we got even more determined and keep trying, adjusting until we succeeded. Man, we even progressed to running and jumping! That same zest, stubbornness, creativity and determination allowed the majority of people to walk. Babies did not comprehend failure as denials but merely delays. Observe a baby learning to walk in future. You will see two things. One, the oblivion that she has ‘failed’ by falling down after one or a few steps. Two, her never-ending relentless attempts to try again until she succeeds. In fact, she may even be laughing when she is falling (failing). What a delight, what an inspiration! Imagine laughing when you are ‘failing’ in life? How did we forget that and identify ‘failure’ as a bad negative thing to be avoided?
When you are growing in any aspect whether physically, mentally, emotionally, or financially, you will be invariable be trying new things. The entire idea of trying something new would mean that you would be unfamiliar with it and hence, the results will NOT be predictable, regardless of effort. This means that you may fail. The alternative is to think, do, or feel exactly how you have always done to be certain of the results as nothing has changed, ie not grown. The reality is that it is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not live at all – in which case, you fail by default.
This is especially true when you are striving for your larger goals. This would involve you working outside your comfort zone. You may need to do and try things you have not done before, think in a way that is strange and unfamiliar, and even ask questions that terrify you. You may have to visit or revisit the fears you had in the past. You may even have to fully step into them to move on to the next stage. When you do this, the universe may not give you the result you expect. You may get rejected in many ways, by your peers, family, friends or the marketplace. That is not unexpected. After all, you are growing. At this moment, you can allow yourself to become paralyzed by a fear of rejection or you can go out there and astonish the world. But you just don’t get to do both.
So, when you fail (and you will, more so if you are pushing yourself and growing), don’t despair. Do not mistake God’s delays as denials. Allow the failure to kindle the fire you had in you as a child learning how to walk. Let it test, exercise and strengthen your resolve to succeed. Use it to inflate your fearlessness in your next attempt. Be grateful for the lesson bestowed upon you (which you would not have received if you did not fail) and be sure to learn it. Know that at ALL instances, bar none, Life is happening FOR you, not TO you.
Jock failed and instead of giving up, he tried again with renewed gusto and got his frisbee. What can you achieve if you looked at failure as fuel that inflates your fearlessness for your next attempt?
‘Courage is an exquisite weapon to defeat the armies of regret that tear away at lives meekly lived.’ – Robin Sharma
Comment below on how overcoming your fear of failure has allowed you to succeed.