Too many people too often have great ideas which remain just ideas because their creators were terrified to try. What if I fail? What if everyone thinks I’m a fool? What if I invest money and time in my idea and end up with nothing but frustration? And loads of other What if’s that will get you nowhere.
Did Stephen King get his novel published right after his first pitch? No. There were so many rejections, Stephen used to hang them on a nail. After the pile of rejection slips got too heavy, he had to hang them on a spike, but still didn’t give up writing.
Failures are lessons. And nothing more. They are needed in order for someone to evolve as a person, as a professional, as a social creature. Without failures, there will be no personal development. Our whole life is basically a cycle that goes something like this: try something – make a mistake – learn from it – try again.
1009 is the exact number of times Colonel Sanders‘ fried chicken recipe was rejected before the first restaurant accepted it and immediately increased its sales by 300%. The fact that Sanders was so sure that people would some day fall in love with his chicken helped him live through all those failures. Colonel Sanders’ example proves confidence is crucial. Believe in your idea and some day everyone else will believe in it.
How can the process of failing become less harmful and more productive? Cultivate a habit of keeping a journal. Write down all your ideas, worries, actions, mistakes. Evaluate and analyze everything you’ve written. When did it go wrong? What should be done and what should be avoided next time you try?
Michael Jordan missed more than 9000 shots in his career. That’s how he learned to shoot and score:through making a countless number of attempts.
So it is clear by now that lessons should be learned from failures. But still it is hard to accept the fact the you’ll be making mistakes along the way. How do you start knowing that you might fail and how do you maintain the positive attitude?
1) Know that failing is OK. It is just an important part of the process, as well as developing the idea, working on it and finishing the project. It is just a milestone.
2) Use other words. Failure sounds terrifying, so don’t call it “failure”. Use other words you are more comfortable with. Like setbacks, for instance.
3) Just an experiment. When starting your new endeavor, look at it as an experiment, not a final choice. This way the outcome is always good, because it was just an experiment – positive or negative – the result is a result. You analyze it and move on.
4) Use your fear of failure. When it’s impossible to overcome it, use it as a motivator. Think of it this way: if you have a fear of failure, then your idea is exciting and worth trying.
Take a look at the infographic that guys from Essay Tigers have created and get motivated for your new endeavor.
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.