Why it is OK to Fail
In my last blog, I spoke about why you start today, closing off with the question: "but what if I fail?". So, today, we are starting off with why it is actually OK to Fail.
Photo by the blowup on Unsplash
What is failure?
As a teenager, I had a very negative approach to life. I would love to underrate and underestimate myself, to take the pressure off. I would also undersell myself to others, to the point that one of my classmates asked me to stop because it disturbed people that I would talk less of myself about something on purpose and I would end up being one of the best at it. Somewhere along the way, this completely switched. Most people that know me now, know me as someone for whom the grass always seems greener, who is happy with everything he has and doesn't believe he ever loses at anything. While I still like being the underdog, because it motivates me more, I don't believe in failure. And it largely has to deal with the experience.
To someone with little experience, losing a battle is a big deal. And in some cases, losses are so big that some never recover. But going undefeated is something very special. And no one goes undefeated in every aspect of life. Thomas Edison once famously said "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." Nike took that concept a little further and created the Michael Jordan Failure Ad Campaign, in which he narrates "I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
The truth is, you can dwell on your failures and see it as the end of the world, or you can take it the way I and many others like me do, lessons that help us succeed in the future.
Fail to succeed
It is really too easy to look at different paths and successes of others and think, I was unlucky. But often we only see the tip of the Iceberg. In a recent Social Confoes episode with Abhishek Kumar, we spoke about his TikTok Channel that amassed over 100.000 followers in less than a year. We only briefly touched upon the hours of work he put in on Instagram, where the same concept never took off the way it should. Would he have given up then, many of the awesome opportunities he has now, wouldn't exist. A couple of episodes later we spoke with Gyanno van Kanten, who told us how him not landing a job in the Netherlands resulted in the creation of a successful business in Curacao.
This led me to think about my past failures and how they have impacted my life. To quickly to list a couple of things I failed at:
* My first business concept - Failed, never made it past the concept phase
* My first company - Failed, handed over my shares to go work for a boss
* My first full-time job - Failed, begged my Dad if I could stop working there after 2 weeks
At my current business, INEFFABLE, which I co-founded in 2016, I:
* Burned out in the first month, blacking out on the day of my best friends wedding
* Created over 10 courses that we no longer offer
This is just a quick list I could think of as I'm writing this post, but you can imagine how long this list could be if I really sit down to list my failures (something I don't do and have no intention of doing). The funny this is, I haven't dwelled on any of it. I've accepted it and took my lessons to improve myself in the future.
So, where do we go from here?
First off, it is important to know that these failures don't prevent me from making similar mistakes in the future. If you are a little stubborn (like me), you might burn your hand twice (depending on how much it hurt the first time). Secondly, I don't always see things as a failure. The way I painted it, it was all 100% my fault something failed, which in reality is rarely the case. The key thing failure teaches us is to recognize certain situations. Situations that set you up to fail, which you can avoid once you recognize them. But in that process, also recognizing situations that lead to success.
So, the next time you fail, don't take it as a failure and dwell on it. Instead, think about what you learned and gained from the experience. Make the negative into a positive. And watch yourself grow in the process.
You're human, it is OK to make mistakes. If failure is the only thing keeping you from doing something, ask yourself this question: Do I want to take that 'what if' to my grave?
That it's for today. Let's talk about fear tomorrow.