We all fail – it’s an inevitable part of life, but what does it mean?
Why are we so afraid of, ‘When our best just isn’t good enough’?
One little statement can bring so much fear, anxiousness, and depression to someone, but why. Mention the word fail and people freeze up, it is the unimaginable thing – to actually fail at something.
In sports, in our careers, in our marriages, in our relationships, in our education, failure is just not an option, but why?
Whilst we have all been in the position of supporting the losing sporting team and cursing them for their ‘poor’ effort, perhaps we need to sit back and say that their best WAS good enough? I mean we grow up hearing our parents preach to us, that all they can expect from us is to try our hardest – as long as we did our best thats all they could ask for (or at least thats what my parents said to me).
I understand the disappointment in training for something for so long, in having life goals, and watching these be destroyed because you failed. But I also think that after the initial shock of failure subsides, we need to embrace the fact that at least we had the opportunity – at least we had the chance to try.
I must explain why I feel like discussing failure – I see a possible failure in my not to distant future – a big failure for me. I can see it coming, peddling along slowly growing in momentum, and at this point theres nothing that I can do to stop it. It really is through no fault of mine – I have tried my hardest, done everything that is humanly possible – and at the end of the day that is all I can do. However I am also willing to embrace the consequences that come with failing, the consequences that come with being responsible for something succeeding and it not. I’m not happy about failing, nor can I imagine anyone every actually being happy about failing. But I am however going to embrace it. Again the biggest cliche is to learn from your mistakes – but I think we need to learn from our failures as well.
I consider these two separate thoughts, as mistakes and failures are two different things. I believe a mistake is when you do the wrong thing, don’t try, don’t give it your all, don’t commit. (I will blog on my philosophy on mistakes another time) Whereas a failure, is when you do try, you do commit, you want to succeed and have done everything humanly possible to do so – but for one reason or another it just doesn’t happen.
I also think that we need to embrace the idea that generally there will always be someone better than us. This does not mean that I accept mediocracy and will settle for a half assed effort, it just means that I will always strive to be better than I currently am, to try and reach that person that is ahead of me. I think we need to think like this – or else we will drive ourselves crazy whenever we actually do meet someone who is better than us at something. If we believe that someone is better than us at a given task/tool/talent, then we won’t go crazy when we meet that person – but rather respect them for their efforts and try to grow and learn from them. It is not a failure not to be the best, it is a failure to not even be in the race.
I know that an athlete may read this and criticise my thoughts, as they think that failing is the worst thing for them. Losing a grand final, or coming second in the final of the 100 meter sprint seems like the end of the world. However I think that by believing that you are only worth the place you get in a sporting competition is limiting , you are devaluing yourself. You’re not just the sport you play – you have more to offer the world. And at the end of the day we are all adults – we are not going to criticise you for trying and failing – but for not trying in the first place.
This goes for anything in life, a career, a relationship, education: to have failed at something, means that you actually tried. As long as you have tried your hardest. And at the end of the day, who really cares if you fail. As long as you gave it your all, hold your head up high, laugh it off and try again. We won’t get anywhere if we are scared of failing. Nor will we get anywhere, if when we do fail, we stay down, to scared to get back up.
Don’t be scared to make the leap because the fall may be to great. Make the leap, and if you fall, dust yourself off and leap again!!!