You, reader, are going to fail.
Failure is hardly an uncommon phenomenon. It ranges from minor inconveniences to devastating disasters and makes its appearance in every aspect of life. More than anything, for most, it is a terrible feeling and so much so that it frequently becomes a fear unto itself.
But what if failure was reframed to be understood as a means to success?
There are very few accomplishments that are executed perfectly the first time. The process of achieving certain proficiency in a skill or pursuit often resembles an upwards curve, with the starting point more or less yielding suboptimal performance in the form of making many mistakes or creating embarrassingly terrible things. Yet while we are inclined to be accepting of failure in the early stages of learning, we are less and less so with time and presumably experience. To fail at any time other than when you are first starting out is frowned upon and it’s a pity.
More than anything, we need to prepare for failure. We have become so accustomed to hearing success stories that we have grown to associate them with the norm when in actuality, the opposite is just as likely, if not more. What there is left to do, then, is to diminish the horrors of failure by first losing the fear of it on an individual level.
The best way to achieve this is to engage in unfamiliar activities. This can happen by striking out at a new aspect of your field of expertise or attempting something completely different altogether. By trying new things, you seize the chance to both expand your horizons and inadvertently set yourself up for failure within comfortable boundaries. Interacting with the unknown demands you be comfortable with the possibility of failing.
But while it is certain that taking direct action to make failure more familiar is an effective practice, it would also do well to alter our mindsets towards failure. So often, the world around us pressures us to succeed and achieve. Although this is hardly a detrimental message, the same expectations cause us to berate ourselves for slipping up and for not accomplishing enough. Consequently, judge yourself for who you are and not what you do. Acknowledge the effort you put forth into your work, your potential for both success and failure, and your ability to pick yourself up when you’ve fallen from grace. When you come to understand that failure is not a step backwards in the direction of growth but rather, its ultimate supplement.