Learning and Perfection

A question was recently asked, “What’s responsible for feelings of self-confidence and of positive self-worth?”

The answer quickly came: “Being unafraid of failure.”

Truly confident people–from business leaders to politicians, from teachers to lawyers–simply are not intimidated by the possibility of failure. They do fail, but they don’t allow their future actions to be altered by this possibility.

Many people do not try to win; rather, they try not to lose. They don’t try to succeed; they try desperately not to fail. That is a sure route to nowhere, according to Alan Weiss, a fellow member of the National Speakers Association. He said, “I’d rather be going somewhere, even if I fail to get there, than assuredly going nowhere.”

This was the message of the poster in my former classroom: “Better to try and fail than not try and succeed.”

Wayne Gretzky, the great hockey player, said: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

People who focus on success realize that with the risk comes the reward.

Just for a moment, think of some challenge you have had. Although you may not want to repeat the experience, if you faced it and worked through it,  you might realize that your are actually better for the adversity. A smooth sea never made a good sailor.

One of the most common comments I receive from my seminars—and a section in my book is devoted to it—has to do with the recognition that YOU CANNOT LEARN AND BE PERFECT AT THE SAME

When we remove the fear of failure, we free ourselves to innovate, to explore, to take a different direction, and to experiment. There is nothing humiliating about failure since it is seldom fatal. If you don’t believe that, I suggest you read the biographies of Lincoln, Edison, or Jackie Robinson—to name a few.

How do we remove that fear of failure? The recipe is really quite simple. Ask yourself these two questions:
-What is the worst that can happen?
-Can I live with that outcome?