I have always hated not trying something. And I also hate the people who discourage me in my process of trying, especially people close to me. One of the major things that stops most people from ever moving forward on their goals and closer to their dreams is fear. One of the biggest fears is the fear of failure, of not knowing if you can actually accomplish the dreams you set out to achieve. We are afraid of what people will say or think if we don’t achieve what we set out to do. I used to have that fear. The fear of failing in my studies that I would succumb to the idea of copying during exams instead of trying to study. Sometimes, the hardest obstacles to overcome are internal. Questions or doubts regarding past and future choices, life direction, convictions and dreams can lead to pain and uncertainty in ourselves. There is no worse pain than uncertainty in who you are or where you’re going.
Theodore Roosevelt put it amazingly well:
“It’s not the critic who counts; Not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit goes to the one who is actually in the arena; Who strives valiantly; who errs and comes up short again and again; Who knows the great devotions, the great enthusiasms, and spends himself in a worthy cause. Who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and, at the worst, if he fails at least he fails while daring greatly; so that his place will never be among those timid and cold souls who know neither victory or defeat.”
Have you faced defeat in your endeavors? If not, I would contend that you are not putting yourself out there nearly enough. Ask any successful person if they experienced defeat or setbacks along their road to success and you will get a 100% yes response. In fact, most successful people have experienced far more defeat than those who are not successful. Most get knocked down once or twice and give up. Successful people get knocked down over and over and over, but they keep bouncing back up and keep moving forward.
In the end, what is worse? Failing, or not trying at all? Which is going to leave you with regret? Which is going to have you wishing you would have tried harder or kept going instead of giving up? Which is going to get you to where you want to go? If you never try, or try and give up quickly, you will have regret down the road. After all without trying equals to no results, and no results equals to a stagnant life. Now I’m not saying there is never a time to let something go so you can move on to something else, but we do it far too often, and bounce from one thing to the next in search of something that will get us to our desired result. But most of the time it is not the ‘vehicle‘ that is the issue, it is the ‘driver‘ (you). Pick your vehicle that you want to use to get where you are going, and stick to it and make it happen. Don’t quit. Most importantly, make sure you are at least out there trying. If you fail while trying, you can deal with it. Get up and get going and try again.
Failure is our best teacher. It won’t kill you, it will only make you stronger. Even if you fail, at least you know you gave it your all (you did, right?) and you don’t have to face the regret of not having tried at all. Even if it doesn’t work out as you planned, it is better than looking back and not knowing what you could have done or been but will never know because you didn’t try. So get out there and start failing! When you move past your failures, success is waiting for you on the other side.
“If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.”
So let me give you an example, in a story form. A story about a man and a sandwich. Let me elaborate; it was about more than the sandwich. The reward for doing anything is the journey, not the destination. Accepting a challenge in life for the sake of the competition, even internal, brings more satisfaction through the participation than in the completion.
Challenge accepted, sandwich. Let’s do this.
It was a three-pound sandwich, to be exact: Nine different meats, two cheeses, lettuce, onions, tomato, mustard, mayonnaise and seasoning. Fifteen inches of glory waiting to be realized. Eat it in 45 minutes and your picture goes on the wall of fame. Eat it in 16 minutes and 17 seconds, and you hold the record.
He looked his destiny in the face, and he ate it.
The first bite is heavenly, and while it may be delicious, he can’t afford to get sidetracked. In these trying times, he must defer to the great Zen master, Adam Richman of Man v. Food.
Three minutes in and half the sandwich is gone. He’s sweating bullets and haven’t taken a breath since he started. Keep going, victory is on the horizon! Three-fourths of the sandwich is gone. You can do it! Twelve minutes have passed…12 minutes of delicious agony.
An absolute truth creeps into the back of his mind. He’s not going to finish in time to beat the record. Hands shaking and in obvious pain, yet somehow still smiling, he tap out and admit defeat.
You have beaten me, sandwich.
An old co-worker walks by at this exact moment and asks if he had finished in time.
Co-worker: Ha! That’s embarrassing.
Him: Have you ever tried it?
Co-worker: No way, I could never finish that.
Him: I’d much rather try and fail then never have tried at all.