Let’s be real. Nobody wants to fail.
We are all egotistical beings and many times a failure, or what we perceive as a failure, large or small, can be devastating to our self-esteem. Sometimes the fear of failure in us is so crippling that it actually prevents us from even trying to accomplish a particular goal.
But lately it seems like the term “failure” has become quite a buzzword with the attempt to flip the term on its head and instead use it to propel one to success. I’m sure you’ve heard the expressions like John C. Maxwell’s “failing forward,” or the Silicon Valley favorite, “fail fast and fail often.”
I’m happy to see people discussing it more publicly, but I’m not so sure I personally want to seek out failure; I just consider it to be a part of the path.
I wasn’t always like that. I am one of those people whose ego and insecurity often lead me to low self-esteem, if I didn’t accomplish something. I remember one time my fifth-grade teacher, Mrs. McLaughlin, telling my mom “You don’t need to put any pressure on Rain about his grades, he does that enough himself.” It got so bad at one point that I was giving myself stomach aches from the stress.
Now that I’m an adult (and ostensibly “growing up”), the things I’ve learned about myself and the world have taught me that “failure” is just part of trying to accomplish anything and should be seen more as an opportunity to get closer to our goal.
It’s just process of elimination. I try to treat it like a science experiment.
Now I enjoy when I make a mistake (as much as one can actually “enjoy” it), because it usually allows me to see what I did wrong and hopefully I can make changes so it doesn’t happen next time. This is how any procedure or process typically works. It’s all trial and error. Life is no different. Every failure just gives us the chance to learn something — to get better.
But the main thing that I’ve learned about this beast we call failure is that it simply is not durable. Any high-performing individual will tell you that the only way to beat failure is to keep going. Persistence is the key. There’s really no secret recipe that takes failure and turns it into success. It’s much simpler than that.
Eventually, if we keep working and we keep trying, we will find the way around failure.
See, the opposite of success is not failure, because failure equals success, eventually. If you’re failing at something at least that means you’re trying — and hopefully you’re learning and adjusting your strategy for the next round.
The opposite of success is inaction.
We have much more to lose from sitting on the couch complacently and never trying. There’s only one result to that strategy.
There’s a video I saw last week that perfectly captures this concept. I cried watching it.
A boxing trainer is working with his young client, who gets discouraged when he can’t figure out proper foot movement. The boy ends up in tears telling his trainer he’s not confident in himself. The trainer, as any great teacher should do, uses it as the perfect learning opportunity. Watch to the end. It’s an opportunity for all of us to learn.
“It’s not that I’m so smart; it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” – Albert Einstein
Rain Bennett is a two time Emmy-nominated filmmaker, fitness professional, public speaker, and writer. His mission is simple: to help people realize that they too can be great, no matter where they come from or what they start with. It just takes passion, persistence, and a plan.
Bennett directed and produced his first feature length documentary in true indie fashion by traveling the world with only a backpack and a Canon DSLR camera. That film, Raise Up: The World is Our Gym won “Best of the Fest” at the Hip Hop Film Festival NYC and received global distribution through Red Bull Media House. He’s been featured in publications like Men’s Health and Sports Business Global and is a regular contributor to Breaking Muscle. When he’s not making movies or training clients at Sync Studio in Durham, he’s hosting a new webseries called The Perfect Workout Show.