By Thad Burkamper
If I went after a thing
Like a goal, a thought, or a dream
I might not succeed
So I must concede
It’s not worth the attempt, it would seem
Pretend that I put in the time
To push through the mud, muck, and slime
To get mostly there
Just to fail, that’s not fair.
Trying anything at all seems a crime
Failure is the number one fear keeping anyone from doing anything. Failure is the easiest fear to diagnose in dealing with someone who is going after or deciding whether or not to even attempt a goal. Generally speaking, there will be a great surge of energy usually in the form of a lot of talk or social media posts followed by zero or very little actual movement or preparation. This all leads right up to the moment of completion. The date of the race, or the end of the diet, or whatever time frame has been put on the goal has arrived. And passed. And nothing has changed. Nothing has happened. Why?
The best example I can think of is a kid learning to dive into the swimming pool. They’ve been taught the steps, they have seen a proper execution of the steps, and they are perched at the edge of the pool. Knees bent, arms clasped together over their head, and, “One, Two, Three, “statue impersonation.”
What happened? The fear of failure has taken over. Failure!? On a first attempt?! Of course, you’re about to fail or at the very least look, feel, or act in a way that screams rookie!
Let’s pretend you’re the kid learning to dive. Pretend, for a second, that you actually tilted forward and managed to hit the pool. Even if you’ve belly flopped and your stomach is stinging and bright red, you did not fail. You took one step further to being able to dive adequately, as long as you try again.
The same goes for any other goal you could possibly dream up. Failure is an attempt that didn’t go as planned. Failure will happen. Quitting is allowing the learning process, or a hiccup along the way, to make you stop moving forward towards your goal. Failure should be celebrated. That is to say failure followed by another attempt should be celebrated. Failure should only be the predecessor to a hung head when it has led to quitting.
Let’s recap. Failure = good = learning experience = an opportunity to grow/become better. Quitting = bad = didn’t learn anything = void of opportunity to grow.
So, get after it. Set yourself a goal that takes several failures to achieve. It kind of feels good.