Monday, October 18, 2010

Why You Need To Fail

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” - Robert Francis Kennedy

Think about some of the things you've learned how to do in your life: how to ride a bike, how to cook, how to tie your shoelaces. Most likely, you had to fail a few times before you really felt like you could do these things well. I'm still learning how to cook and making plenty mistakes along the way. We were really good at making mistakes and accepting them as children, but somewhere along the trajectory into adulthood, we started to become afraid of making mistakes. For some of us, that fear is so paralyzing that we might not even start to try because we are overwhelmed by the idea of failing.

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.” - Confucius

When money enters the equation, we're even more afraid of failing, because money represents our personal freedom and security. We become bound by our own set of "gold handcuffs." We imagine a certain lifestyle full of material comforts, and then become bound by that idea. We decide we can't afford to fail, which also means, we decide that we can't afford to take risks.

“The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail.” - Napoleon Hill

A really good batter with a .300 average, fails 7 out of 10 times at bat. That 30% success rate might not look good on the high school report card, but for an inventor, even a 1% success rate could equal a nobel prize. Successful people become comfortable with the possibility of failure because they don't believe they're failing, they're just learning how to be more successful. If something doesn't work, they investigate how and why it didn't work, and then build on that new knowledge to get closer to successs.

“A man can fail many times, but he isn't a failure till he gives up.” - Unknown

There's no replacement for making your own mistakes. You can read for years about what you should avoid and what you should plan for, but there's always so much more to be learned from actually attempting something on your own. Different people yield different results. Rather than trying to go in with all of the answers, allow yourself to uncover the answers as you go. Go in curious and willing to be flexible when things don't work out the way you had hoped. The important part is starting. The hard part is not giving up.

“If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.” - Unknown

Anne Ruthmann is a lifestyle & wedding photographer from Boston, MA. She spent 10 years practicing marketing & management in corporate and non-profit businesses before pursuing her passion for photography as an independent small business. She loves helping others find creative and low-cost solutions to business problems. Follow her on Twitter to see her daily adventures and thoughts.