What is Failure?
You’ve heard that “The road to success is paved with failure”, right? Do you believe it? Do you welcome failure or avoid it? If you fear failure, perhaps it’s time to look at it with from a new perspective!
Table of Contents
- Audio Article: The Road to Success!
- Fear Inhibits Life
- Unlearn the Fear of Failure
- Fear is a Learned Behavior
- Failure Makes You Stronger
- Facing Fears is the Road to Success
- Failure to Success Stories from the Community
Audio Article: The Road to Success!
Fear Inhibits Life
To inhibit your progress due to fear is to feel that pain far more than if that thing feared came true.
I used to be afraid of flying. There were various contributing factors, sealed by one huge one. I had a friend die in the ValuJet airplane crash in the Florida everglades in 1996. I grew up around small plane aviation. But this… I relived my friend in this horrific crash until it escalated into a full-blown fear of flying.
It’s possible that the intensity of stress around that fear, shaved some time off my life. It certainly gouged my enjoyment of travel and also hindered the enjoyment of those close to me, concerned for my pain.
Then I finally realized that all the years of anguish around flying were far longer than would be such a death. It was time to put to rest that fear. In other words, the fear of the thing—whatever it may be—is a longer, slower sentence of distress.
Do it and Done.
It’s the same with any fear we may have. Most of the time the fear of the thing is far worse than the thing itself, which almost never happens anyway.
When it came to my fear of flying, I realized that if I were to die in a plane crash, then there’s nothing I could do about it. I imagined instead, the kind of person I would like to be in my last days, hours or minutes, and should I die in such a horrendous way.
I thought that I would like to go out helping and comforting fellow passengers instead of dying a fearful death. So I lived through that death in my mind… dying once… then I let it all go.
“I let go of my fear so that I wouldn’t die a thousand imagined deaths.”
~LeAura Alderson, owner-iCreateDaily.com®
Here’s another article where we’ve shared a highly effective approach for handling any possible stressful life and death circumstance. Another great tool is the Serenity Prayer.
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
So don’t let fear of failure hold you back. Fear of failure inhibits your travel on the road to success.
The road to success is paved with failure.
Unlearn the Fear of Failure
You weren’t born fearing failure. Fear of failure is a learned behavior.
The toddler never fears walking, no matter how many times she falls. Every parent knows the tenacity and perseverance of a child determined to get his or her own way. The child unconsciously knows that the road to success requires persistence, determination, and perseverance.
The toddler relentlessly pursues her goal. To walk.
And of course, children also know that persistence wears down resistance. When he’s certain that “no means no”, he’ll just come up with another plan over time. 😄
“If you fear failure, it’s time to let it go… to rule over it, and show it who’s boss. Fear, overruled! “
~LeAura Alderson, cofounder-iCreateDaily®
Fear is a Learned Behavior
So if the determination to succeed and immunity to failure is innate in children, where does it go? How do we lose it?
Unfortunately, fear of failure is taught. It is taught at home and it is taught at school. Parents, teachers and the school systems that reward success and penalize failure, reinforce our avoidance of failure.
There’s no one to blame. It’s no one’s fault. Fear of failure is just an unconscious societal indoctrination that has evolved over time. It’s a mostly learned behavior. But it’s time to let it go.
We’re wired to naturally fear danger, and to fear being cast out and ostracized, because to our ancient genetics, community meant safety. But to fear learning to walk and to explore… to learn through trial and error…? That comes from a perceived threat that we learn by—and through—our associations.
Fear of failure is a learned behavior. Time to unlearn it.
~LeAura Alderson, cofounder-iCreateDaily®
Failure Makes You Stronger
Of course no one loves to fail. Failure is uncomfortable. It hurts. The child that falls may cry, but she gets right back up.
But it’s actually in the jumping and even falling against the power of gravity… against that which would hold us back, that our bones and muscles and our entire body systems literally grow stronger.
Going to the gym is uncomfortable too. But it makes you stronger. No surprise then that it’s the same for emotional, mental, creative and business growth as it is for physical growth.
In fitness we learn to go for the failure because that’s where you grow strongest.
It’s in pushing against the gravity of resistance, that we grow stronger.
~LeAura Alderson, MyTrainerFitness.com
Some successful entrepreneurs like Gary Vaynerchuk, say that they welcome failure. That they’re in it for the game; that to fail keeps them in pursuit… in the chase… the hunt. Failure keeps them alert, aware and growing. Well, that makes sense when you consider that every prosperous society ever, has grown soft and weak in the comforts.
To continue growing means learning and ever entering new territory, learning new skills and facing uncertain outcomes. Growth includes failure for everything new we pursue, we will fail and in the failing we learn, grow and improve.
For a muscle to grow, it must reach failure. Same thing for personal and business growth.
Fear and Failure Are a Part of the Journey to Success
Successful corporations are failure adverse. Successful CEOs are as well, so it goes hand in hand. It’s interesting to consider the longevity of such corporations over time. Those less likely to risk entering new arenas, may not thrive enough to last. Consider Blockbuster, Borders, Sears, and Kodak, for example.
Successful managers and executives want to preserve their position by not failing. But to not fail means you’ve taken no chances or risks. Yet…
Hanging out on the limb of failures helps make us stronger.
Facing failure rewires your brain to recognize the feeling of failure as a time to grow. And that is what we’re here to do. Grow. Of course failure is not fun. Most people don’t love the gym either, but they love the results.
At some point, those who keep on working out, day after day, year after year, come to love the gym too. Same with failure because failure informs us. Failure shows us where we need to grow next and what we missed. It keeps us on our toes.
Facing failure rewires your brain to recognize the feeling of failure as a time to grow.
Here are some more quotes and inspiration on business success and failure.
Failure to Success Stories from the Community
Famous Michael Jordan Quote
And here’s that full quote, which we love!
MOST FAMOUS MICHAEL JORDAN QUOTE~Michael Jordan, NBA pro, billionaire entrepreneur, b.2/17/1963
“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career.
I’ve lost almost 300 games.
Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted
to take the game-winning shot…and missed.
I’ve failed over, and over and over again in my life.
And that is why I succeed.
Becky Slonaker, Artist
Failing, oh boy such a powerful word and game changer.
I look at failing as happy accident or experiments with the wrong formula.. [I had a painting that] when I was finished with it I set it down to dry on what I thought was level ground. The next morning I went in to see how well it dried and all I saw was the paint that ran down the painting onto the floor.
I was so mad! I had worked hard only for me to end up screwing it up. As I continued to look at it..it started to grow on me and I decided to keep it the way it was. I called it “chaos of the mind”.
I ended up selling that painting… the one I thought was a failure… an accident.
Failing is all how you look at it. You decide what that word means to you.
~Becky Slonaker, artist, BeckySlonaker.com
Heather Merrifield, Artist
I have tried to work on my art for years. Each time I would get to a point and quit, mostly because I was not strong enough with my significant other to say yes, this is important to me, we need to make a few sacrifices to let me do this.
I have since gotten stronger. Slowly. 3 years ago I said I am going back to school (part-time; I have a full-time job). And every semester I said, this is important so I am not quitting. So much so that last semester I separated, partly because I would not quit.
I am determined to get that graphic design degree so that I can get a job I like better.
I moved out on my own, and still finished my class for that semester. New class starts this week for me. And I am determined to get that graphic design degree so that I can get a job I like better, and pays me better. And… I also plan to get my art, art history, and photography degree as well.
This time, I won’t stop. 😊
~Heather Merrifield, artist, graphic designer
Mary Peters Ballesteros, Artist
I seem to have a passion for lions these days. This is the black and white version of my second attempt. Original is in color and I wasn’t happy with the way it turned out; I messed up the colors on the left side…. big time! Ordered some watercolor ground with the hope that I can successfully cover that section and start over. Never used it before but it’s worth a try.
I found it interesting, however, that when it’s filtered to black and white as depicted here, I basically like it…the values seem to stand powerfully on their own. I may even print it on cardstock and frame it. …go figure 🤷♀️
Different perspectives can impact what we consider a success or “failure.” My success could be your failure. I prefer not to use the latter word at all, as I don’t believe that any of our work is a failure… as long as we learn and grow from it. I make plenty of blunders, and much of my work does not make it into a frame, but I’m ok with that. Living and learning, enjoying the journey along the way, that’s what it’s all about 👩🎨
Karen Smith Krueger, Artist
Failing is not a mistake that can be fixed, it is an event that can only be learned from. I must admit, not always learning (failing forward )….sometimes, I am quite slow to get up. And sometimes I don’t always live in authenticity… but in recent years and months and days…
I am paying more attention to what brings me joy.
Art….that for me, is my sweet spot. I have learned to look closely and pay attention when sitting with my art and I become agitated, or get a block or feel that I can’t get it right, or wonder why I am trying to do a piece of art that is too hard.
It makes me smile even as I write tonight. Most everything I try, I feel or say to myself in the process. ..this is just too hard, but find myself interested in the trying to get it right….and trying again and again.
Today, I played a bit with clouds, waves, ocean and sky.
“Failing is not a mistake that can be fixed, it is an event that can only be learned from.”
~Karen Smith Krueger, Photographer
Karen D. Bota, Journalist and Creator
Tonight I walked by this vision board, which it turns out I created four years ago! I was thinking I ought to take it down. It hangs on my office door in the hallway leading to and from the main entry door I use, and I’m afraid it’s become part of the furniture rather than a guidepost. I don’t pay attention.
Or do I? I looked more closely. I see areas where I’ve missed the mark and gone backward, but more areas where I am stepping forward into my work.
I’m stepping forward in my work. The vision board stays. 🙂
Karen D. Bota, journalist, creator
More Creative Images and Word by Karen D. Bota
Oh the possibilities on the other side of fear!
When are we Most Alive?
Imagination keeps visioning alive… and vice versa! Karen D. Bota created these lovely images. Karen asked herself this question:
When are we most alive?
- When we are children.
- Or grown-ups who bring out the childlike quality in themselves.
- When we are surprised by everyday miracles.
- When we are wide-open to learning, we come alive.
“I started with a photo of my 2 1/2 year old grandson, looking up in wonder at the clouds, and played with it.”
~Karen D. Bota, journalist, creator
“Facing failure rewires your brain to recognize the feeling of failure as a time to grow.”
~LeAura Alderson, cofounder-iCreateDaily.com®
Hello! I’m LeAura, a philosopher, generalist, autodidactic, personal development advocate, entrepreneur, writer, editor, author, ideator, media publisher, and podcaster, passionate about helping others achieve their best possible life! We’re a media publishing company run by our small family of entrepreneurs, writers, and creators around topics we enjoy, such as gardening, health and fitness, creativity and pets, with more to come.
While my greatest teacher is Life… my formal training includes certifications in mediation, fitness, and strategic intervention coaching, including marriage and family. Today, the synergy of creating websites, articles and podcasts, brings together all my favorite things: family, learning, growth, creating, connecting and contributing. To share these with you is a privilege, that serves my lifelong aspiration to help others.
My personal areas of creativity are in writing, masterminding, ideation, synthesis and bringing ideas to life through business and entrepreneurship.
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