“Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It’s OK to fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not growing.” – H. Stanley Judd
This quote has been said in various ways by about every damn motivational person in existence. I’m not even sure if this quote was originally said by H. Stanley Judd. [Confession: I don't even know who he is. I had to Google him to make sure he wasn't a Nazi sympathizer or anything.]
The point is that you do learn from failure… if you’re open minded. Too many people look at failure as the end. That may be true, if you’re a quitter. I look at failure as a result from my efforts and as feedback on how I could do better next time. Why did I fail? What could I have done to prevent said failure? … and so on.
You have to at least fucking try…
You can’t call your failure a successful learning experience if you never began to try.
A book I read this year, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, opened up my eyes to the fact that we often get in the way of our own success. He calls it resistance, but it is more often called procrastination and self sabotage.
When we take on a challenge, task, or project, we often immediately try to find a way or a reason as to why it won’t work. We do this to psych ourselves out from ever beginning the actual work. If we never start, we can’t fail… right? We can just ho-hum our way through lives always saying, “I wish…” “If only…” “____ is so lucky”.
The only way wishes can come true, hurdles can be overcame, and luck happens is if you do the damn work.
You have to start somewhere…
Can you just decide tomorrow that you’re going to run a marathon? Sure.
Can you just run a marathon tomorrow with no training or experience? Probably not.
Before you run 26.2 miles, you have to know what it’s like to run a mile first.
The same way we tackle challenges is the same way we train for a marathon… baby steps.
[I have no idea why I'm using the marathon example. I'm never running a marathon. You bank on that.]
The easiest way to accomplish something big is if you break it down into smaller wins. Learning discipline, commitment, and dedication to finishing something is what achieving your goals is really all about. It really doesn’t matter what the goal is. As long as you develop good habits, they will carry forward into all areas of your life.
At this moment, I really don’t have a grand vision or a goal to set out and achieve. Sure I have a bunch of smaller, non-descript goals: “grow my business” “travel more” “get healthy”, but I really don’t know what those look like in specific terms. Once I do though, I better be prepared to go all out. Basically I have to train myself to make my goals my bitch and tackle them ferociously.
I’ve been training for success…
I know it sounds stupid, but stay with me…
For the past couple of months, I’ve been taking on personal challenges to sharpen my determination and will power. I was inspired by The Failure Games and decided to take their daily challenges a step further. On Facebook, I’ve been announcing a weekly challenge that I’m giving myself (sometimes given to me by friends). Beginning on Mondays, for 7 days, I accepted and completed each challenge. A few of my weekly challenges so far have been:
- Read a new book
- Give up Facebook
- Learn three new recipes
- Give away one cluttering possession each day
- Run a mile in the morning (got the flu in the process)
- I’ve even given up all social media for a week (that was enlightening, more to come about that).
The goal for each of these tasks was to challenge myself to step out of my comfort zone. What on the surface seemed like a short term goal actually have turned into long term changes in my life. I no longer drink energy drinks, I now like cooking, and I’ve grown a healthy hatred for the Internet
If you want to be a success at anything, you have to be humble, aspect that you might fail, and be ready to learn from each mistake you make (heh, that rhymes). If you’ve read on this far, congrats! You must really be a true friend of mine… or a stalker. In either case, I want to challenge you to make a simple change in your life.
Remember, it’s all about little wins.
Get out there, and do something meaningful.
Your future self will thank you.
What small change are you
going to take on for the next 7 days?
State your goal as a comment below and I’ll personally check in to see if you kicked some ass this week.