Don’t Let Fear of Failure Control Your Life

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.

-Albert Einstein

I find it really comforting to know that one of the smartest people of our time has made mistakes like anyone else. It also makes me wonder what kind of mistakes people like Einstein have made. Not one BIG mistake. I want to know about all the little ones that helped lead to an idea like the to The Theory of Relativity.

No one wakes up one day and simply knows something like that. Everyone who has achieved something great has gotten there the same as everyone else. They have tried things and failed, tried more things and failed, and then failed a few more times. But eventually, they succeeded! And some of them changed the way we see the world!

Find comfort in your failures

High at the top of my personal fears list has always been the fear of failure. It’s a common theme for most people. As I came to understand this, I realized how much fear was holding me back from doing the things I wanted. I had always been pragmatic, practical, and safe. Having that mentality, though, only leads to more of the same. I understood I couldn’t continue that way unless I wanted the same results.

Now, I’ve gotten very comfortable with the idea of failure. I actually anticipate there will be some part of failure in everything I do. It’s inevitable and I don’t see any problem with trying something and failing. As long as you learn something in the process, you’re never truly failing. Use each failure as a lesson learned and evolve the process or idea to account for it.

For example, I have been on a mission to teach myself how to make traditional, Italian gnocchi. It hasn’t gone very well so far. Each time I attempt to make it though, I’ve learned something that helps me for the next time. One big take away I’ve had is to make sure to mash the potatoes while they are hot but incorporate them into the flour after they have cooled. The more I fail at making gnocchi, the more recipes I read, the more chefs I talk to about the process, and the more comfortable I am with the dish. I don’t stress if it doesn’t turn out the way I want. I’m learning and I know it’s a process.

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re doing something.

-Neil Gaiman

Little Failures Help

The times I’ve made gnocchi so far haven’t even been complete failures. They’ve been pretty good but the gnocchi just isn’t to the level I want it to be. I want the stereotypically, light and fluffy gnocchi that reminds me of trips to Italy. What I’ve created so far looks and tastes right but has the density of an overcooked dumpling. It’s definitely not the worst but I know I can do better. And I’m confident I will do better.

Growth comes from doing the things that scare you

It feels really good to be able to say you accomplished something perfectly. The downside to this is simply reaching for the lowest hanging fruit over and over. You know you can get it, so how do you expect to progress by doing it?

For me, life is about progression. It’s about learning and experiencing everything you can in the short amount of time we’re given. I’ve experienced the most personal growth when I try things I’m not sure I can do. I hope I can… and I think I can… but there’s always a healthy dose of doubt thrown in, too.

Think bigger. Dream bigger

What is something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t because it wasn’t the right time? Maybe you talked yourself out of it because you needed to be more realistic? Or was it because you already had a set path for yourself that couldn’t be changed?

The secret to all of these reasons is they are bullshit. It’s never the right time. “Being realistic” is the killer of too many dreams. And any set path that isn’t what you want anymore, should be abandoned without hesitation.

Real successes, with long lasting outcomes, take time. They take making plenty of mistakes. And they are always worth it. Find something you want that terrifies you and make some mistakes towards making it happen.

A version of this post was previously published on GoFindYourHappy and is republished here with permission from the author.

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