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Why is it important to fail?

To dare is to lose one's footing momentarily. Not to dare, is to lose oneself.

Søren Kierkegaard

Failure is hard, I get it. But hear me out.

Failing at something, in the beginning, is not proof that you will never be good at it.

It is a sign that you are learning. You are in the process. And if you really, badly want to do it, with time and constant practice you will get there.

I am not talking about anything philosophical. I am being real and practical. When you fail at something, and;

  • Step number 1 - learn from it.

  • Step number 2 - try again.

When you repeat this process over and over your chances of success gradually increase.

There are so many people who have highlighted the importance of failures in the success of their careers.

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.

Michael Jordan

If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.

Thomas J. Watson

I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

Thomas A. Edison

So then why do we not want to fail?

One reason is low self-esteem. When you fail, you tend to think about yourself as a failure and you do not feel like trying the thing again.

But this only happens when:

  1. You think your failure is final, that there is no room for improvement

  2. When you take it too personally and attach your self worth to one failure

Some people are also afraid of failing - What if I fail? This question keeps them up at night. This question makes them back off from any challenge where they might have the potential to try and improve.

It is hard. I get it.

But let me tell you a funny thing about failures - the more you fail, the lesser you are afraid of it because now you know it's not that bad. Now you know you won't mess this up, even if you think you will/might. Now you know you are learning from previous failures and getting better.

Now you are getting comfortable with failure.

So, the more you try (and fail) the more you get comfortable with it and the less it bothers you.

But still, the question is, where do you start?

You start by pushing yourself to try new things. Even simple things, in the beginning, would do. Like for example if you want to get comfortable talking with people of the opposite gender - try talking to one person every day. That's it. Just one. Even a friendly chit-chat of 15 minutes would do. You see what you learn, take that information, and apply it the next time you strike up a conversation.

It's like when you start going to the gym for the first time, you have to push yourself if you want to build this habit.

One more interesting thing happens when you take up the challenge and start working hard.

Psychologist Daryl Bem shows that we form opinions about ourselves just the same way we form opinions about others, by observing our actions.

When you see someone talking to everyone at a party, you will notice that person is taking efforts and you will form a good opinion about him.

In the same way, when you make efforts, you see yourself as a "go-getter" as someone who works hard for what they believe in and what they want. You also see yourself (eventually) as someone who is not afraid of failure but someone who can deal with it.

And guess what? This strengthens your self-esteem!

So instead of protecting your self-esteem by "playing it safe", maybe it is time to take things in your hand and go for whatever it is that you want to do.

It's time to see yourself as a hardworking person, someone who takes effort and gets what she wants.

It's time to take efforts and work towards what you believe in and even if you fail initially, keep working hard.

J.K.Rowling says:

Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above rubies… The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself or the strength of your relationships until both have been tested by adversity.


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