Your improvement in anything is the culmination of thousands of failures. The size of your success is based on how many times you’ve failed at something or how much you’re willing to fail at it.
If someone is better than you at something it’s probably because they’ve failed at it way more times than you have. If someone isn’t as good as you at something it’s probably because they haven’t been through as many painful learning experiences as you have.
Avoiding failure is a learned behavior that was probably passed down to us unconsciously by everyone. Almost everyone we meet has a degree of it, some higher than others.
We are judged on our performance our entire lives. Everywhere we turn we are being criticized, judged and valued by the outcomes of each performance. We learn quickly that failure means we are worth less than those around us. We learn that avoiding failure can keep our value safe where it is and we protect ourselves from any threat to it.
We also have the media jamming amazing success stories down our throats at all time. We have social media only showing us the highlight reels of top performers. They never show us the monotony of thousands of hours of dull practice and embarrassing failures that were endured to get to where they are.
At some point in our lives we learn two things. First, if you’re not already great at it then you will never be because you either possess the skill or you do not. It’s black and white. Second, it is best to stick to the things we are already good at so that we can avoid the pain of failure.
But to avoid failure is to avoid success. Our fear of it limits our growth potential. If you’re not willing to fail then you’re not willing to succeed.
It’s about this time that you should audit your value systems and examine your self-concepts. What do you value? Who are you? When you value the way other people perceive you then your success or failure is based 100% in control of others. If you believe that people view you as successful, smart, put-together, always knowing the answer; you avoid things that threaten that concept. Thus, you avoid failure because if you fail people won’t like you and if you fail you will no longer be the person you believe people view you as.
But if you value things like working hard, taking risks or self-improvement then you can live that value every single day regardless of how other people view you. Your self-worth is entirely based on your actions towards your values.
If you are willing to break down your self-concept a bit more and say “maybe I am not as successful and put-together as I like to believe” you start letting go of your need to stay consistent and it frees you up to take more risks because if you aren’t always successful and always right then it’s no big deal if you take a risk and fail. Nothing outside of your control is riding on it anymore.
The fear of failure is the fear of the pain. It comes from facing the reality that you’re not everything you image yourself to be. The Fear of pain is fear of growth. But pain is a good and necessary thing.
Failure is necessary. Failure is the same as improvement. But only when we are willing to face it and learn from it.