In today’s society, mistake and failure are almost always seen as negative words. They bring to mind corporate giants that have fallen, broken dreams of individuals, and most things made by General Motors. Is it possible for failures to be awesome? People love to talk about business successes and online entrepreneurs who have made it huge, but you seldom hear anything about the dozens of failed ventures along the way, the broken glass along their path to success.
I read a book recently that suggested that there are 2 distinct types of failure. Failures of action, and failures of inaction.
1. Fail by doing nothing
Have you ever had the chance to talk to somebody who looks back on their life with regret? It’s a humbling experience to watch somebody lament how they never really lived their life, life lived them. Their dreams and ambitions spent years being relegated further and further down an ever-growing list of responsibilities. Get a black belt in karate, backpack Italy, build a time machine, train a monkey to make iced tea…whatever it is, they are likely perfectly attainable goals, but they never made a priority of any of them. I started on my bucket list at 25 and intend to continue working at it and prayerfully adding to it to make sure that I accomplish everything God and I want to do with my life.
2. Fail by acting on something
Have you ever started a business that didn’t work out? Or started school just to change your mind on what you want to do? Maybe you set out on a trip somewhere and had to return because you ran out of money. Perhaps you took a chance on a relationship that didn’t work out. These are the kind of comfort-zone expanding failures that grow you as a person and offer you opportunities. I will work at the things that are important to me no matter what everyone else thinks…it’s not like most people do it that often anyway right? I will not retard my own growth and personal development because others just don’t like, or worse, are skeptical and cynical about what I’m doing. Everybody is an expert from the sidelines.
Too many people choose to live the life that is handed to them by their parents. I know many, many people who end up in the same career as their parents just because. They never actually set out to do it, life just lead them in that direction and they grabbed onto it because it is something that they know and understand. I am a perfect example of this. I have unintentionally ended up in the same career path that my father was in at my age. He found it boring, repetitious and unfulfilling. Here’s the part that will BLOW YOUR MIND!!!!…so do I. Thankfully, my dad now has a career that he enjoys. Again, I will follow his example, but this time deliberately.
It’s hard to do unfamiliar and uncomfortable things, even if they’re things that you really want to do. Don’t deprive yourself of the opportunity to discover what you’re capable of.