“The goal has never been to always succeed; the goal is to be allowed to keep initiating.” – Seth Godin
We tend to have an unhealthy fear of getting it wrong. We delay starting a project, because we are afraid we will fail at it. We are perfectionists to a fault. Now, I’m not going to give you any of that “failure is not an option” talk and give you the impression that, with the right attitude, you will succeed in every endeavor every time. No, on the contrary, I’ve got a different message for you. You will get it wrong. You will fail. You will not be perfect.
But there’s good news. First, since failure is inevitable, you can stop worrying about the possibility of failure. It’s going to happen whether you worry about it or not. Secondly, failure is good because means that you’re actually doing stuff. You’re actually initiating. You’re actually starting projects. You’re actually trying. Failure is not a sign of defeat; it’s a sign of effort. So fail. And be proud of it!
Choose Progress Over Success
Could it be that we’ve been looking at success the wrong way all along? Are you a failure if fail you once? How about twice? Three times? Nope. When you’re at the end of your life looking backwards, the only things you will be able to say you failed at are the things you gave up on. Everything else will have ultimately been a success. You only really fail when you quit. What we often view as failures are really just setbacks.
As the Seth Godin quote from Poke the Box implies, life isn’t about always getting it right. It’s about gaining enough ground to simply go another round. It’s about progress. Sure, instantaneous success is gratifying, but it’s unreasonable. Much of the time, you’ve got to get it wrong before you know how to get it right. So, my advice to you is to reevaluate your goal. The aim is not to win every battle; it’s to have enough strength to keep fighting in the war.