There are things that we want to do, but we find excuses to not do them for many different reasons. For most people, the main reason to not even try reaching their dreams is the fear of failure. There are three categories of people:
- Those who don’t go after what they want because they are afraid that they might fail to achieve their dreams.
- Those who take a step towards their goals, but they give up midway because they’ve tried and failed once before.
- And then there are those who are fully focused on their goals, where the failure on the way to reaching their goals means nothing to them, other than it allows them to grow stronger so that they have the will and added knowledge to get closer to their goals.
Which category are you a part of? If your answer is the third category, I would like to congratulate you for your determination and mindset. However, most people fall into the first and second categories because of how they define failure. Under ordinary circumstances, the word failure has a negative meaning which has brought to many people nothing but grief and hardship. Therefore, first let’s redefine failure and call it a temporary defeat. This temporary defeat has many advantages and lessons that is only granted to those who dare to go after what they want.
In every failure there is a lesson you can add to your knowledge. I remember one of my first failures was at my first year of architecture school. My project got selected by a faculty to be presented to the entire first year architecture class and the professors. As nervous as I was, I put together my thoughts and presented my project on the spot. After my presentation, I got crushed by the faculties’ harsh criticism of my presentation and my poor word choices. My self-esteem was crushed, and I felt terrible about myself and my ability to ever present in front of any group of people. I wanted to give up architecture school because if I couldn’t present my project well then, I thought “how could I ever become a good architect.” But I did NOT give up because of this, in fact, I started to train myself to be a better speaker instead. I learned from this first-year presentation on what I could do to prepare better to speak in front of an audience. I started taking public speaking classes to get comfortable speaking in front of a crowd. As of today, I still get nervous when I have to speak in front of an audience. However, I’ve changed my definition of failure from something personally detrimental, to an extraordinary experience that is granted to me because I had the courage to try.
I’m sharing with you my story because I want to show that you can make any failure the best event of your life; only if you start to look at it as a temporary defeat will you learn from it and move forward. Once you aim high to achieve something, there will be a path that you must take to reach your aim. In this path you will fail many times but remember, whenever you fail, you are gaining new experiences which will prepare you to get to your goal. The greater regret doesn’t come from trying and failing, but it comes from not taking the chance at trying or giving up halfway or failing without learning a lesson. As Napoleon Hill once said, “… I have felt thankful ever since for having had sense enough to realize that strength and growth come only through continuous effort and struggle, that disuse brings atrophy and decay”.