I Love Failure!

How to learn to let go of the fear of failing

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Okay, so that might be an extreme title for an article, but it’s true. I think everyone needs to learn to love failure. Instead, however, failure seems to be the one thing that almost everyone fears the most.

The “embrace failure” concept is not new, and it’s been touted for a while in the business world. In fact, you’ve probably hear about it so many times that you think it sounds cliché. Many successful people, from Michael Jordan to Steve Jobs, have spoken about embracing failure and how it made them better and more successful. And while many of us think the idea sounds logical on paper, most of us have difficulty applying it to our own lives.

So, why should you love failure? Bottom-line, if you never fail, that means you never really pushed yourself outside of your comfort zone. It’s important to remember that if you’re going to push your limits — if you’re going to try new things — then it’s inevitable that you’ll fail.

I’ll be the first to admit that getting out of that comfort zone is uncomfortable; being out on that high wire is not for the faint of heart. Humans tend to crave safety and security. In fact, safety is one of the basic human needs, so it’s normal that we crave it and run from things that make us feel unsafe. It’s easy to get complacent, to only do what you know you’re good at, and to avoid risks. But if you do, are you really living?

I also feel that we grow the most from our failure. People often say failure is their biggest fear, but what they’re really afraid of is the discomfort that comes from not succeeding. But sitting with that discomfort is where you learn the most about who you are. And how you respond to failure also says a lot about who you are. When failure does happen, do you take it personally and freeze up? Or do you learn from your mistakes, pull yourself together, and do better next time? The people who recover from failure to become stronger are the people who learn to make it work for them.

So, stop seeing failure as a measure of your self worth. Learn to let go of the idea that you have to be perfect. Holding yourself to impossible standards or comparing yourself to others just causes unnecessary stress. Measure your self worth based on how you respond to failure or challenges, not by the failure itself. Because failing teaches us, inspires us, and helps us identify what we want — and it makes us stronger.

Now, it’s important to note that not all failure is good. If you’re experiencing failure because you keep repeating the same destructive patterns or making the same bad choices over and over again, that’s not the type of failure to embrace. But it’s failure you can learn from. In that case, you’ll want to identify those patterns and do what is necessary to break them.

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