What Are You More Afraid of – Failing or Standing Still?
Have you ever considered what inspires the marathon runner to run to the best of their ability? Sure, it is going to take a long time to complete the track. Yes, it might take a lot of effort. What about the person fighting in the boxing ring? They get a couple of blows. Sure, it hurts but they do not give up. Even though both the marathon runner and the boxer pursue completely different paths, there are some characteristics that both of them possess. Those characteristics are conviction and perseverance. What if the marathon runner never took the first step because they were too afraid of failing? They were too afraid of not finishing first. Life would always provide you with a number of choices. And the choices you make are going to determine who you are.
So often we are so afraid of potential failures that we barely even try. We become content with staying in our comfort zones. Our cocoons are the safe space we exist in. However, they lack any ambition or purpose. In our cocoons, we tend to stand still and by doing that we inhibit ourselves from exploring infinite opportunities. We often think to ourselves that by stepping out of our comfort zones we might expose ourselves to the uncertainties and vulnerabilities of the world. We are afraid of failing in our endeavors, getting out heartbroken or letting our loved ones down. However, Theodore Roosevelt has said “Far better is it to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, then to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
Often, we realize that it is not the actual failure that is really painful or catastrophic but the fear of failure that scares us. We constantly think of what life would be like if we fail. We replay those scenarios in our heads. We try to predict how our loved ones would react to it and if they would lose trust in us. However, what we do not realize is that all great men and women failed at something in their lives. Because that meant that they took a step in the direction of their dreams even though it might not have worked for them. The author of the much loved Harry Potter series J.K Rowling believes, “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.”
Success feels great, it is something that one likes to tell the world about. Failure on the other hand, not so much. It is something that one likes to hide. A lot of people feel if failure is so humiliating and success takes so much work- why try at all? What they forget to address is that trying opens you up to boundless possibilities. You might enjoy the ride or learn how to steer differently. You might even find an amazing companion along the way! The key is to keep moving and not standing still.
As you embark on the journey, things may not go the way you planned them, and you might fail. But you know what’s awesome? You are still somewhere better than where you started from. There is a beautiful saying by Norman Vincent Peale that says, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” What matters is, are you choosing to acknowledge where you have come and are you grateful for the journey you embarked on? The most important question is, what are you willing to learn from it? Successful entrepreneurs thank their failures more than their achievements for bringing them prosperity. They believe that each adversity, everything that goes wrong brings with it- equal or greater good.
When we do nothing, we neither achieve success nor fail. The fear of failure keeps us from beginning or ending a relationship, it inhibits us from chasing our dreams and starting the entrepreneurial adventure we always wanted to. We do not make any changes. The truth is, when we do nothing and we stand still, we still lose.
The society we live in has forced the perspectives about failure onto us. The people around us belittle us if we are not able to do something as it ‘should be done.’ Failure is considered to be a sign of weakness. However, great leaders swear that celebrating success is alright but what is more important is to heed the lessons of failure. For it is not how far off you fall but how high you bounce that really matters. Failure gives you courage to try harder. It gives you the lessons to become better. It helps you achieve success faster. Wayne Gretzkey has said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” And that exactly is the difference between failing and not trying.
Successful people do not fear failing for they know the value of failing and understand that it is imperative to learn from it and then strive to reach their goal with even greater conviction. A popular quote says, “Winners never quit, and quitters never win.” You know what they did not mention? The ones who stand still do not even get to be in the race. They are just spectators- watching people kissing victory gloriously or people failing and learning from it and trying even harder to achieve what they have set their eyes on. The marathon runner does not hold themselves back because they are afraid, they might lose. The speed up as much as they can, with their eyes on the prize. The boxer falls seven times and yet, stands up eight. For it might take them time to win the fight but they are determined to achieve their goal, nevertheless.
The choice you make for yourself decides where you end up. What will it be for you?
Aradhana Tewari is a life and communication coach, and facilitator for several Access Consciousness special programs including Right Voice for You and Being You. She has a background in international business marketing, and media and broadcasting. Since discovering Access Consciousness, Aradhana has experienced whole new way of living and now travels the world, sharing her sense of purpose and joy with others. Follow Aradhana.