Thursday, November 18, 2010

Re-Defining Failure

First of all I would like to sincerely thank all of you have been reading the blog so far and especially to those of you who took the time to contact me to share your stories and how you were able to relate to what has been posted so far and I am humbled by any inspiration you took away from the posts.  The feedback received has surprised me but was my intention when creating the blog which is still so young that I truly hope the content and/or experiences shared will continue to yield positive results.

What I wanted to talk about in this post is the fear of failure and our perception of what failure is. I realize that this crosses boundaries into those that do not suffer from a type of anxiety disorder but in my opinion or at least from my personal experiences the fear of failure is compounded into the realm of unhealthy or irrational for many of us that do suffer from anxiety.  But this is something I feel that I have recently been able to really put into a healthy perspective for myself and have had to in order to meet my goals I have set.

So, what are people remembered, recognized or classified by?  It is always their achievements or successes that they have had in life, never from their failures or attempts that fell short, for instance you never see an e-mail signature block that states a name followed by “Mediocre Father” or “Failed to get my Real Estate License” or “Holy Balls I think I’m Dying” (for those in the midst of an attack) but of course you see what they are defined by are their successes, such as the fact they are an MBA or DDS or whatever they have accomplished and it is almost a guarantee that they experienced many mini “failures” in getting that title. But when we dwell so much on these little failures that we shut down immediately at the first road block rather than analyze the situation, see what went wrong and then move on logically to the appropriate step we get nowhere and will always look back at the experience as something else we cannot do or are not good at.  This can be due to the self-esteem and the misguided perception one has of themselves when suffering from forms of anxiety, it can also be that we are just so overwhelmed by the anxiety in our life that we can’t take on any new goals as our current goal is simply to survive the moment.  Both of these are crippling to achieving what we want out of life.  Let’s talk about the first instance of self-esteem and fear of failure in this post and then I will go back to the 2nd of getting through the moment to be able to start thinking about what you want from life.

In order for me to achieve my goal for instance of financial independence is going to take being diversified enough to generate many different revenue streams to make a living from.  This is a path filled with what could be considered failures which I have already had my fair share of, a good example of this is building websites that have flopped and gone nowhere for many different reasons.  These could be considered failures but six months ago I had no idea how to build a website as I am not naturally a technically savvy person, but now through these failures I am very comfortable with creating websites of different types and templates as it’s just a matter of trial and error, it’s through these failures I now have a website that has far surpassed my expectations and would have never achieved this without the previous failures and the skills I picked up along the way.  In my particular goal this is a vital tool needed in my journey but if I had given up after my first flop it would have all been for nothing.  The current project I am tackling is the mobile app market and this has a high probability of failure.  I have zero programming knowledge and have just begun to read about the programming skills required and it is going to be a battle BUT even if I do not get to the point where I am able to create an app on my own that generates income I will however be familiar enough to know which parts of programming I am incapable of doing on my own and hire a freelance programmer to just write the portions of code that I cannot do which will be much easier I assume then handing over my entire idea, and all the legal paperwork involved.  There is actually an ad that I put on this blog today that can most likely be easily spotted now that I have mentioned it….but I put it up by writing my first HTML code…it’s far from impressive but I did not know how to do this 48 hours ago.  

 I hope that hearing of my floundering but still having the ability to stay resilient towards my goals is helpful to those of you that are like me and want to avoid failure at all cost, even if that cost means staying in your comfort zone and not taking a shot what brings you real happiness in life.


Anonymous said...

Once again a great post. I think one thing people have to remember is that it is because of failure that you become stronger. Thomas Edison failed thousands of time before he made a working light bulb. Many successful people failed numerous times before they succeeded. There is a saying "It's OK to fail but its not OK to try". I don't think you can accomplish anything thinking you are going to fail. Sometime is is hard just figuring out the first step. Even if it is a half a step at least your moving. I think you are beginning to realize how special it is to have a goal and be working towards it. To many people have goals and dreams and never get there because of inaction. This post also brought to mind the concept of fear of success. Could it be that some people are afraid of what happens if I do make it? This can be as crippling as the fear of failure.

AJ said...

Excellent points, it is funny that you bring up Edison as an example because I originally intended on using his failures as an example regarding what he is remembered for and is actually in my notes but when I start writing I often end up somewhere else entirely than where intended. Honestly the concept of being afraid of success did not come to mind until you bring it up here, I see how it could easily happen to where one could be horrified of some of their new responsibilities that may come by meeting their goal and could also tie into what you said of how I am realizing how special it is to have a goal. I could now be afraid that by success it would take away this newly gained ambition or 2nd wind that I have been given in life and be left with nothing other than an empty feeling of "well now what do I do??" feeling.
All great points and thanks so much for sharing!!