To have confidence, you must also have Confidence to fail. Irrelevant of outcome, by attempting something new, your skill in that area grows; either you find out what works, or learn what doesn’t. Fear often stops us taking action yet for many, we are not always clear what fear really means.
Defining Fear takes the wind out of its sails
Do you have confidence to fail?
Fear can be seen as a feeling of not being prepared for an event, or the consequences of an event. Consider this definition in relation to being scared of the dark; people are not actually scared of the dark, they’re actually scared of what they feel may happen in the dark or have uncertainty around how they would deal with a situation in the dark. Similarly, people aren’t scared of flying, they’re scared of how they’d deal with the the airplane being out of control or of falling to the earth and dying.
It should also be remembered that fear isn’t a negative one-sided emotion as it can be very useful to protect us in times of threat. Our lower mind (or animal mind) also has the response hard wired via the fight or flight mechanism and it really does serve us for survival. In nature this is clear, and in daily life if you fear missing a deadline, that can create positive stress to help us work harder and be more organised – like preparing our taxes or completing a piece of work on time.
When we have confidence to fail, we are saying that we are prepared for dealing with the outcome even if it doesn’t play out the way we expect. It is a very powerful skill to embrace and use and fundamental to success. Those who do not try are those who never succeed.
What do these famous people have in common?
Famous people who overcame obstacles and were willing to fail forward
- Richard Branson overcame any disadvantages associated with being dyslexic. This may have guided him to music, the start of Virgin Records and this business empire.
- Bill Gates’ first business, Traf-O-Data failed to make any money. This failure was instrumental in the first success of Microsoft.
- Stephen King had his first novel rejected 30 times which went on to sell over one million copies in its first year as a paperback.
- Einstein didn’t speak till age 4 … and today his concepts are known worldwide.
- Malala Yousafzai, whilst campaigning for human rights in Pakistan against the Taliban was shot in the head, but still continues her campaigns today.
“The more you fail, the more you’re likely to succeed due to experience.”
I’m all for playing the hand we’re dealt and I feel I was fortunate to get a few good cards but I’m not sure if the good cards made me, or I made the good cards. I lived for 10 years in a country I love, Australia, where if I lost my job or finished a project, I’d have 4 weeks to find another one or I’d have to leave the country. It was surprising how liberating it became knowing that my home could change in a heartbeat. I had to leave Australia twice during that period so I could stay and my confidence has been built by smashing it against the toughest obstacles I can conjure up.
I’m encouraging you to fail…
… or at least try to fail by giving it a go – perhaps three times per week taking 6 minutes to start, stop or change something. The game of life is played down on the pitch – realise that you can leave your seat in the stands and join in whenever you like – nobody really knows all the rules anyway.