He Who Doesn’t Fail, Doesn’t Try

October 18, 2016

You fail, you try again, and you make mistakes, because this is the only way you can learn and achieve your goals. There’s no other way to learn other than by trial and error. Thinking you’re better because you don’t make mistakes is a foolish approach.

Success doesn’t exist without a healthy dose of stumbles and blunders. These failures show you the path you should not take, and that it’s better to find an alternative or try other options.

What would have happened if Thomas Edison got tired of trying the hundredth time his light bulb didn’t work? Remember, he found success after 999 failures. He failed again and again, but instead of thinking that he wasn’t capable of overcoming his mistakes, he realized that all of those mistakes were responsible for the eventual development of the artificial light we enjoy in our homes today. On his thousandth try, he finally got it right.

Failing, falling down, and trying again is how we achieve important things in life. Throwing in the towel after the first try ensures that we won’t fail, but also that we won’t achieve anything interesting. Which do you prefer?

“He who fails has less value as a person.”

Do you think this is true? How many times I’ve heard this sentence! Unfortunately, perfectionism is the way of the world today, and there’s little margin for error, little patience for the development of our most powerful creative tool: trial and error.

Since we were young, we’ve been evaluated. We’ve been pushed to compete and achieve 100% every time. Instead of being happy about discovering we’re on the wrong path and having the opportunity to find a better one, we’re punished for it. We even sometimes hear judgments like “you’re no good at this,” “you’ve always had difficulty with math, it’s not your thing,” “you keep doing a bad job, you’ll never learn.”

All of these words decrease your self-esteem, and you slowly start to believe that you should never make mistakes, that you should be competent in everything that you do. And if you’re not, you’re not worth anything. You’re a failure and you’re destined to a mediocre life.

magnifying glass

When you read it in these words, it might sound like an exaggeration, since you’re probably in a calm state of mind when you’re reading this article. But when our patience is at its end, most of us have trouble controlling these judgments.

Our irrational thoughts cause us to suffer when something goes wrong, such that we abandon our goals, projects, and hopes. In this way, we save ourselves from failing again, which would cause our self-esteem to falter again.

Be more tolerant and less demanding with yourself. Forget the fantasy of being perfect. It’s human to fail, it’s in our nature. It’s normal, and it will always be that way.

It’s not written anywhere (except maybe your mind) that failing makes you stupid, or whatever name they call you. And doing something well and being successful doesn’t define you or determine your worth.

Personal value has nothing to do with your performance in any area of life. People should be valued for being people, not for what they have, what they do, or what they achieve.

You can either fail, or remain idle

You choose. If your fear of failure is so big that it prevents you from getting up and trying again, it will probably be worse in the long run. The idea that you’re not worth anything will only be reinforced, because you’re condemning yourself to the fate that you fear so much: not achieving your own goals.

If you remain idle, you’ll feel better in the short term, because you won’t have to expose yourself to more failure, or to the criticism that you might receive from others, or the harsh judgment you might receive from yourself.

unfinished tightrope

You’ll save yourself from all of that if you don’t take a chance and fall. But you’ll also lose out on many other important things, like learning, overcoming your obstacles, and seeing yourself improve. And you’ll make it very difficult for yourself to experience reward for your efforts.

Success isn’t necessary, our happiness doesn’t depend on it. You can be perfectly happy without any success in your life.

But watch out! Taking this reasonable and mature approach is not the same as avoiding failure out of fear, especially if what you want with all your heart is to achieve something that’s important to you.

Conformity is also an attitude that comes from fear, and all this will do is deceive yourself. So make the decision to take a risk. Be brave and fail! It’s not a bad thing like you’ve been taught to believe. It’s actually an advantage that can help you learn and improve. Nothing terrible will happen if you make a mistake, so make it!

I Can’t Do It: The Fear of Failure