Have you ever considered before, what would you do if you could not fail? Probably, and at the very least you’ve heard that idea proposed before. You might have an answer, or a few, but honestly, that’s a pretty loaded question. I don’t know about you, but shit, I’d do literally everything. Spend a year sailing a boat around the world with nothing going wrong? Done. Become an Olympic athlete, sure why not? Write a novel that will certainly become best-selling because, you know, that whole can’t fail thing. I would do it all. Think about it, the world is your oyster and your dreams are the pearl. But once I tackled that question, it began to morph into an even more deeply existential one with the help of one of my new favorite pastimes: podcasts.
“What’s worth doing, even if I fail?”
With complete certainty, we will all fail at some of the things we put our best efforts towards in life. In our ventures to become our most fulfilled and actualized selves, trial and error is the most used tool in our belts. You will find the courage to try new things and yet still, you will be met with disappointment because your efforts did not materialize. Such is life. However, after hearing this quote by Brené Brown on Elizabeth Gilbert’s Magic Lessons podcast (WHICH YES, I’M VERY ANNOYED I DISCOVERED AFTER I WROTE A POST ABOUT MY FAVORITE PODCASTS BECAUSE IT’S A FUCKING TREASURE) I’ve done myself the liberty of obsessively mulling it over to the point of countless caffeine driven headaches. “What’s worth doing, even if I fail?”
Failure isn’t anyones favorite option, in fact, it’s usually everybody’s least. But it would be foolish to ignore its stark probability in our lives. And so I ask myself, what is worth doing with my life, even if there is an incredibly high probability that despite my fervor for success, I’ll still fail?
Those of us who are into personal development and self-help literature are probably very familiar with idea of leaping into the deep, dark, petrifying abyss of our creative dreams. Usually, amping ourselves up to take that leap that’s the hardest part. And then there’s that smug, entitled part of us every one of us that almost expects to be rewarded for taking that initial jump into the unknown. And yet even with our hearts full of creativity, longing and passion, we are still met with failure. We leapt, and the net didn’t catch us. And we’re left on the ground, shattered and lost as to where to go from here. But what if hitting the net, or the ground, was never the point at all?
When we free ourselves from the idea that we’re too good to fail, or that failure is the ultimate destruction of our dreams, we open ourselves up to the extraordinary possibilities of the things that can come out of just simply trying to achieve our goals. It’s not about the net, it’s not about the accolades, the money, or the success. It’s all about the fall and how you choose to let it cultivate you. Once you accept and embrace failure as a necessary part of your journey, it stops being so God damn scary. Once you stop thinking of your life goals as always being linear, you start to embrace your journey for what it actually is: an incomparpable process we all have to navigate as individuals.
Every decision and risk you take that you feel is right for you at the time is the best you can do at being true to yourself and your goals. So what if it doesn’t work out? Would you rather live your whole life in the shadows of what your life could’ve been if if only you had the courage? Or would you rather give it the ol’ college try despite the way it turns out in the end? I’m choosing the latter.
Learn to embrace the failures. The only true failures are the ones you didn’t learn a damn thing from.
So, what is that thing that keeps you up at night that you’re too afraid to try? What would be that one thing worth doing that even if you failed miserably at it, you went for it anyway? What are those several things worth doing despite the outcome? Sit with that for as long as you need, and once you figure it out if you already haven’t, decide to forgo the net from the equation. It’s not about the net, it’s about the journey your soul takes on the way.
I have to say, I’ve never been so excited to fail.