I don’t ever want to fail at anything. I don’t ever want to look stupid or have people say, “I told you so.” I don’t ever want something to not work out. I don’t ever want to have to admit that I was wrong. I don’t ever want to be scared.
I want everything I do in life to unfold perfectly, just the way I imagined.
And yet….life’s not like that.
I fail at something most days. I mess up, I make mistakes, I mis-judge. I flip at my partner over a situation I completely read the wrong way. I spend hours and hours writing an article, absolutely certain it’ll be a hit, and….it isn’t. I sit down to meditate, and 3 minutes in, my mind is racing and I fidget constantly, eventually giving up and going back to scrolling through Facebook. I go all out in the swimming pool, my lungs bursting, my arms burning, and yet I don’t swim the 400 metres in the time I set myself. I send an email pitching an exciting idea or collaboration or coaching project, and I receive a “Thanks, but no thanks.” Or worse, I hear nothing.
I don’t like failing. And yet I know I will in some way or another. I can’t escape it, because I choose to live my life in a way that leaves me wide open to failure. I refuse to sit on the sidelines of my life, not saying or doing or going for things simply because I don’t want to fuck up.
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”
– J.K. Rowling, Author
I spend a lot of time listening and talking to people about their lives, and one thing I hear over and over again is that they’re scared of failing….except they don’t quite come right out and say that they are scared of failing. Instead, they tell me about how stuck they are in their lives and how near-impossible it is for them to change and do things. I hear all about how they’ve tried before, how they can’t do XYZ because the kids are still so little, or they don’t have the money or the confidence or the time or the motivation or the fitness or the talent or the discipline or the skills. And yet…..all I hear is their fear.
Their fear of failing. Of fucking up.
We want everything to be easy in life, don’t we? We want everyone to like us. We want to feel comfortable. We want everything we turn our hand to to be a guaranteed success. We don’t want to have to really try at things. We don’t want to rock the boat or feel unsafe.
And so we choose to live that way. Tiptoeing around our lives, shhhh don’t wake the failure.
We just don’t try.
Well, I want to live in a world where people do try.
Why? Because staying stuck and not doing the things you want to, is far, far fucking worse than failing will ever be.
Let’s be ok with failing.
Let’s invite failure in for the ride.
Let’s start doing more.
Let’s start living more.
Who’s with me?