The Power of Failure

“If you aren’t failing, you aren’t trying.” -Woody Allen

For far too long I was afraid of failure. I thought that the more I failed, the more of a failure I would become. So naturally, I did my best to avoid failure. What I didn’t realize is that I was cementing my path to becoming the very thing I was so desperate to avoid. I stopped trying new things. I didn’t want to look dumb. I was afraid of embarrassment. And I was becoming afraid of failure. I had no idea what sort of consequences it would result in. So I hid. I started going out less and less. I began to talk with fewer people. I lost friends. My desire and subsequent tolerance to put myself out there faded. In a misguided attempt to avoid failure, I was becoming one more with each passing day. I became a shell of my former self. I was ashamed of who I had become. At this point, I was in a pretty dark place. And I stayed there for a long time and I stewed. I made my bed and now it was time for me to sleep in it. I spent way too much time in the depths punishing myself – but I thought that’s what I deserved.

The majority of what I’ve described was years ago for me now. Since then, I’ve made huge progress across all aspects of life. My relationship with failure has improved dramatically and pushing myself to the point of failure has since become a principle of mine. Going out there and trying to just be the slightest bit better or go the slightest bit further every time motivates me to become a better version of myself. I’ve learned to challenge myself and see to failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. I started this blog just a few weeks, anticipating it would take months to get any sort of engagement. I’ve stayed consistent and posted every day for the past 14 days and this time I was wrong. The positive feedback has been overwhelming. Thank you to anyone who has read, liked, commented, or otherwise supported me so far. I sincerely appreciate it. But to me, this shows that I set my sights too low. I will re calibrate and be back to failing in no time!

After a while, my self-prescribed punishment started to really wear on me. I was miserable. I was a failure. I wasn’t going anywhere. And quite frankly, I didn’t even know where I wanted to go. But I knew I couldn’t stay here forever – and considering how badly it sucked, I knew I didn’t want to. So I started slowly trying to get better. Baby steps really. It started with thoughts. Hoping to get better, wishing to get better, but not taking action. But I started failing all the time – by not doing the things I needed to do to change. And honestly, it didn’t feel very good. Just more failure. But at this point I was getting better at handling it. I wasn’t where I wanted to be and I wasn’t changing as quickly as I wanted. I started taking small actions. Nothing impressive. But I was trying. For the first time in a long time I was really trying. And I don’t even think I really realized it at the time but I was actually making very gradual progress. For someone who was stagnant for so long, it meant a lot. 

So here are my questions for you: Have you been failing much recently? What’s your relationship with failure like? Is there something that you’re interested in doing but afraid of failure?

I challenge you to try something today that is within your abilities but still has a high likelihood of failure. Push yourself a little further than you’re used to and you might be surprised by what you can do.

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