“The failures and letdowns of our past often deter us from pursuing a future.” -Many Authors and Philosophers
If we are honest with ourselves, this ancient yet newfound truth has never been truer. How many times have you quit something before you ever start because your internal rating system is flashing and honking “code red?”
This rarely has anything to do with our fear of failure as many would think it does- it often has more to do with our past of failure and fear of failing AGAIN.
Really think about it, that first time when you started that first business, when you asked the blonde with a nice smile out, when you decided to try a home building project or when you started that workout routine- did you ever really worry about failing? Or were you simply just giddy with excitement- you didn’t know what you were doing, but you were just going with it?
And then… well, it didn’t work out so well. You fell flat as a business- never really getting traction so it puttered out. You pulled a Lloyd Christmas and instead of asking her out, you were called into the offender’s office for telling her you “desperately want to make love to a school boy” (Dumb and Dumber movie reference for those on the intraweb that don’t know). You started the home project trying to be a craftsman and instead you opted to let it be so every time you walk by the garage or that room, you’re reminded of your “failure.”
Past failures are truly what stop us from trying again. Not our fear of failing, but our fear of failing again (again, again, and maybe again).
Bob Goff had a nice little illustration of this in his book “Live in Grace, Walk in Love” where he says:
“You’re never going to land the plane in your life until you make enough mistakes to get your idea airborne.” -Bob Goff
So true. The greats often fail. The greats often fail a lot.
The best dads and moms? They probably yelled a little too much at one point, they probably were selfish for a season, they probably didn’t always say the right thing. But they learned and became better rather than guilty and worse off.
The best employees? They probably had 3-4 dead end jobs where they finally said “no more. I’m going to just go do what I know I’m capable of and let the rest fall as it may.”
The best spouses? They probably weren’t the most kind, loving, patient partner early on. They went through tough times, learned, and went through tougher times and learned more… and still are.
The best athletes? They were told by many they wouldn’t amount to anything and were waived, passed on, or just flat out discouraged- maybe even quit for a time, but kept pursuing.
The list and examples go on and on, but the truth is the same: Let the future potential outweigh the past failure.
You are your toughest critic. Don’t let you get in the way of you.
Embrace failing. Embrace the past. Embrace who you will become.