blog | 3min Read
Published on February 17, 2021
When was the last time you read about a ‘failure’ in a positive light? Generally, you see them paraded on news channels as the scum of society. The most entertaining failures for the media are those who used to be considered successes at one point. So we’re thrown these images in our faces, as an example of what not to become. And thus we grow up fearing failure or at least seeing it in a negative light. Starting from our school days, exams are made to feel like life or death. Bunk actually failing, sometimes it feels like even getting below 80% is considered a failure. So we stress ourselves out, constantly tense about failing, creating monstrous scenarios in our head. And we forget what failing is all about.
Fail Fast And Often
When you fail at something, it simply means that you did something wrong. If you don’t fail, how else would you know? That is why the motto in Silicon Valley is ‘Fail Fast’. Seems almost nonsensical to hear, but they live by it. There is no stigma in Silicon Valley of failing, so people aren’t afraid. They try, fail, learn from it, and make changes to try again. If Steve Jobs had stopped trying after he got fired from Apple, you wouldn’t have an iPhone. He got fired from his own company, he could have easily sat and cried into his pillow. No. He went and started another company. And then another. Until he finally got back to where he wanted to be.
The thing that any successful person will tell you is that they went through multiple moments of failure to get to where they are. Anybody who tells you otherwise is flat-out lying. There is not a single example of someone who has succeeded but has not seen some form of failure. So technically, by not failing you’re actually stopping yourself from succeeding.
Failure Is Just The Start
The trick is to not stop at any failure. Always look at failure as a learning opportunity. Sounds cliché, but why look at it as anything else? There is nothing to gain from looking at it negatively. When NASA was trying to send humans into space, hundreds of rockets exploded. Those were failures. But they still ended up putting a man on the moon in 1969. Just imagine if they had stopped. You wouldn’t have had Google Maps. Those failures led them to develop better rockets, led to more satellites being launched, which led to GPS. You’d have still been asking for directions from strangers.
Now, whenever you do fail, it’s going to be a shitty moment and you’re going to feel terrible. Nobody enjoys failing, you aren’t a robot. The point is how you respond at that moment. Can you rally yourself out of that feeling and onwards?
Let Failure Make Your Brain Work
You can overcome failure by increasing the odds of success. Often times we fail because we don’t create the right situations for ourselves. Did you put in the effort? Did you find all the solutions to a problem? Are you being honest with yourself or are you just lost in wishful thinking? Are you being realistic? These are all questions we must ask ourselves. If someone is putting in 40 hours of effort every week, and another is doing 80 hours, who are more likely to succeed?
The fear of failure should also make us relook at our motivations. If you’re afraid of becoming a singer because you’re afraid of failing, then you need to check your motivation. Maybe you want to be famous, more than you want to sing. You can as easily fail at business as you can at singing. You can also get fired from a job. So why fear failure only with singing?
There is no to-do list for success. All you need to do is fail. Set yourself up for failure so you know how it feels. The fear will slowly reduce and then start trying to set yourself up for success. You’ll still fail, it’s fine. Learn from it and move on. Fail again and again, but don’t stop. Fail, learn, move on. Do this enough and you will succeed. But if you stop, there is absolutely no chance of succeeding. When the moment comes, and it will come, how will you respond to it?