No one wants to fail. In fact, most people take it personally when they do. They’re embarrassed, especially if the failure was a public one.
Some people are so afraid of failure that they never even try something new or are very, very hesitant to follow their dreams. What if they do and fail? Maybe their dreams were just never meant to be and they’ve wasted their lives in pursuit of something that’s always going to be out of reach!
But these fears are often irrational, especially when you examine failure itself. In many cases, it’s not a reflection of you at all. Those who are really successful will actually tell you that failure is a good thing and that, in fact, it’s absolutely necessary if you ever want to succeed!
Here are 6 reasons why you might want to start welcoming failure instead of trying to distance yourself from it:
1. If you never fail, it means you never tried
Failure may be a sign that you tried and didn’t achieve success, that’s true, but it’s also a sign that you tried. There are many people out there who are so afraid to fail that they never make an attempt. They let their dreams go because they just don’t think they could ever achieve them, so what’s the point? Why fail since that means the end of the dream?
The thing is, though, that failing doesn’t have to mean the end of the dream. It simply means you have to get back up, adjust your game plan, and try again. Sure, maybe you fail several times, but each time you’ll learn something.
“The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.” – Mark Zuckerberg
2. Each failure gets you closer to success
That leads into the second reason why failure can be good: each time you fail, you’re getting a little closer to success. Failure brings with it lessons, and if you learn with each failure and apply what you’ve learned to your next attempt, you’ll be able to get that much closer. Who knows, that next attempt may be the one that succeeds, and if it’s not, you’ve learned and grown in yet another way that you wouldn’t have if you’d given up.
3. Would you rather fail or regret not trying?
Along those same lines, if you never try, you may later feel something even worse than failure, regret. If you give up now, you may regret it for the rest of your life. Whatever led to your decision to accept failure, it’s not worth the regret you’ll feel later. If you keep at it, you’ll not only eventually succeed and avoid regret, you’ll find that success is that much sweeter because it took a lot of work. Instead of failure and regret, you’ll have success and pride in yourself and what you’ve accomplished.
4. You learn life lessons
In addition to learning something about your approach to your goal, failure can also teach you life lessons that you wouldn’t learn any other way. These life lessons help you grow as a person. They can teach things like empathy, understanding, and compassion.
Most successful people didn’t become successful overnight. They had to work hard at it, and they had to fail multiple times. This is one of the main points you might hear a motivational speaker hit on over and over.
There’s a reason why these speakers are so popular, too—they speak the truth when it comes to failure, and they can help people see that it’s not a horrible thing. They also help keep us going. If they can overcome every failure and reach success, we can, too!
5. Failure tests your dreams
If you fail and find that giving up isn’t really that big of a deal, chances are you weren’t invested in that dream as much as you initially thought you were. Failure can show you what you really love and what you only thought you did. If you’re determined to succeed no matter how many times you fail, then you’ve found something you truly love and truly want in life.
This is especially true if you look at why you failed and realized it was because you simply didn’t really want it bad enough. Maybe you didn’t put all of your energy into it, or maybe you can pinpoint the place where you realized this dream wasn’t yours.
That’s okay. That’s just failure teaching you one of those life lessons that can’t be learned any other way. It’s also likely that this failure will open your eyes to what you really are passionate about, and that’s not a failure at all!
“Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another steppingstone to greatness.” – Oprah Winfrey
6. Success and failure are not opposites
So many people think that success and failure are two sides of the same coin, but they’re not. Instead, failure is more like the road to success. You don’t toss the coin and hope it lands on success—you walk down the path that failure can show you. When you hit a roadblock, sure you may stumble for a moment, but then you learn how to overcome that roadblock and move on to the next one. Eventually, you’ll learn everything you need to in order to make your dreams come true, and you’ll be that much stronger thanks to those lessons.
Do you agree that failure isn’t really a bad thing? How do you see failure, and what have you learned from failing? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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