I’ve always hated failure.
In high school, I became the master at avoiding anything that could risk me looking like a failure.
I booked doctor appointments on swimming carnival days.
I signed up for extra curricular stuff that could get me out of sports class.
Doesn't seem too harmful though right? Just getting out of sport in highschool.....
The problem is though, this avoidance of failure became a habit for me in every area of life. If I wasn’t 100% sure I would excel in something straight away, I would find a way out of trying it.
Sadly, every time you decide to avoid something out of a fear of failure, you shrink the boundaries of your life. When a fear of failure makes decisions for you, you stop yourself from learning some pretty valuable lessons that failure has to offer.
Now, people often throw around this question to try and inspire us to step out of our comfort zones, they ask, ‘what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?’
This automatically positions us to believe that failure is bad and should stop us from trying things. When they ask that, we think of all of these amazing things we would do; the careers we would start, the people we could help, the dreams we would follow.
That’s all well and good to think about, but we know that failure if a part of life,. The reality is that if you ever find yourself in a situation where there is no risk of failure, it probably means that you’re not stepping out of your comfort zone at all!
I think a far more powerful question to ask yourself is, ‘what would I do, if I was the kind of person that failure couldn’t crush?’
If I could learn how to be resilient or strong enough to pick myself up after failure and take only the lessons I learnt, what would I do?
If I was someone who didn’t take failures on as part of who I am, what would I try?
We talk about this in schools all the time, because we believe that the way we see failure is going to be a game changer in life. It’s not your talent or personality or money that will determine whether you succeed or not, it’s how you bounce back from failure.
If you can change the way you see failure, then fear doesn’t determine the boundaries of your life and the stakes are lowered when you step out and try something new.