When embarking on a new endeavor or goal, most of you will be worried about failing. You’ll usually do everything in your power to try to prevent it from happening. This fear of failure will dictate how you structure your attempts at reaching that goal. You may try to minimize your exposure so that if you do fail, it won’t be too bad. Most decisions you make on the path to that goal will be more oriented toward avoiding a big failure than they will be toward actually achieving the goal. People really, really, don’t like to fail.
Well, I like to think about it a little differently;
I want you to fail. And not only do I want you fail, I want you to fail spectacularly. And often.
Most people never really fail, because they never really try. They just sort of lose momentum and sputter out. They live in the “gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat” as Theodore Roosevelt once said.
When they do attempt something, it is tepid and lackluster. If they do occasionally make a go at something they are actually MORE likely to fail because they don’t really take the risk to begin with. They are so afraid of failure, that they hedge their efforts, and in doing so actually guarantee the outcome that they fear.
Just like this girl on the diving platform:
She is so afraid of failing that she doesn’t take the leap of faith. She tries to hold on and doesn’t really commit, and in doing so actually CAUSES the failure she is so afraid of.
Now just committing 100% doesn’t guarantee success, far from it. But it does guarantee two things: your failures will be spectacular – and so will your successes.
When you fail, I want you to fail like this guy
Total commitment. No thought is given to what will happen if he doesn’t make it, he just puts everything into that jump. And as a result, his fail is spectacular. So while both of these people failed, the first girl never had a chance at accomplishing the task. If you are risking failure anyway at least do it in such a way that gives you a chance at reaching your goal.
It’s no coincidence that those who have had the greatest successes and reached the highest levels in various arenas of life are also those who have had the most and biggest failures.
Michael Jordan has missed more shots than most people have ever taken. He was lost more games than most people have ever played. On the other hand I have never lost a pro basketball game. Which one of us is the legend?
The failures don’t define him.
In America today we see people who have never attempted to accomplish anything in their entire lives excoriate somebody like Donald Trump because 4 companies he started filed for bankruptcy. They conveniently leave out that hundreds of others have succeeded, netting him fame and fortune that few humans in history can match. They define him (and themselves) by the failures, not by their successes.
Another famous businessman, Robert Kyosaki, has a different perspective on such failures. He says,
“Nine out of ten businesses fail; so I came up with a foolproof plan – create ten businesses.”
When you don’t really put it all on the line and legitimately take a risk, then 10 out of 10 will fail. Unlike the dumbed-down critics that will be slaves to other people their entire lives, Kyosaki realizes that failure represents legitimate attempts, and are just part of life. It represents effort. and effort yields results. Not always, but inevitably.
There is a saying in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that you will tap out 10,000 times before you ever get your black belt. That’s a lot of getting your ass kicked. If I were to tell you to imagine somebody who has been tapped out 10,000 times, you would probably imagine some pathetic noodle-armed nerd. But the truth is that MMA and grappling champions, some of the most bad-ass dudes on the planet, have faced defeat more often and been physically dominated more times than any white-belt currently getting his ass kicked in the gym, or any nerd currently getting bullied.
A man like Conor MacGregor has been beaten up way more than somebody like John Scalzi, a pudgy pencil-neck author who by his own admission can’t even out-bench his teenage daughter. MacGregor has faced failures daily for years. But those failures have built a monster who can now physically destroy over 99.999% of human beings on the planet. Which do you think define him, his failures or his successes?
You will have a lot of failures in your life. If you are one of the rare few who dare mighty things, then you will have more failures than most. Good. Make them spectacular.
Get out there and start failing.