Success? Failure? Experience.

This post is a risk. What if it fails?

  • Everyone will laugh at me;
  • I’ll be criticised;
  • Nobody will ever want to associate themselves with me.

Right, that’s three things to start worrying about.

I could stop right here and not bother at all. Nobody wants to lose credibility for attempting something new, right?

But what about the possibility that it will succeed?

  • Everyone will cheer with me;
  • I’ll be praised;
  • Everybody will want to associate themselves with me.
edge (photo by virtualwayfarer)

It’s a long way down… (photo by virtualwayfarer)

Neither of these possibilities rings true. But, like me, I’m sure you’ve had times when you see things in such a right/wrong, win/lose way. Things will turn out one way or the other.

Keep battling that feeling. The reality is never so clear cut.

When you think in such extremes, it’s easy to choose doing nothing over trying something new. The thought of failing can push your dreams back fast.

That’s when dreams remain dreams. You imagine great success if only you could succeed. But the fear of getting it wrong is too much.

I don’t like this way of looking at life. From this perspective, we’re standing on a rock. Looking one way, you’re at the edge of a cliff, a step away from falling. Looking the other way, the rest of the cliff rises up thousands of feet, challenging you to climb.

You don’t want to fall. That’s a given. But the climb looks hard too. You’d love to reach the top, but one false move will set you plummeting to the ground.

The best option is clear. Stay on the rock. You’re safe there. No need to take your chances when you’re on firm footing here.

Phew. That feels better.

No. I don’t like this way of looking at life. That’s not how things work.

We’re not on a rock, faced with a dangerous fall or a dangerous climb. But the metaphor is comfy. In difficult choices comes the need for an easy route.

Why? Because it’s easy to stay firmly on your rock. It’s your comfort zone. It’s what you know.

Going through a life of tests, exams, and the pressure to be right, you can’t be blamed for wanting to play it safe. One false move and you lose your place on your rock.

No. I really don’t like this way of looking at life.

Our relationship with failure and success causes so many problems. We see them as extremes when more focus should be on experiences. With each experience, we continue to learn.

Prepare to make things work, but don’t wait for perfection and don’t be scared of mistakes. That way, your risks are at least calculated. Random leaps of faith are not to be taken on a regular basis.

You are not standing on a rock. You have more choice than a sheer fall or a crazy climb.

Experiences are useful. Some are more positive than others. Keep looking for them.

Don’t dwell so much on success and failure. Choose experiences over extremes.