Doubt kill more dreams than failure ever will
It is a truth universally acknowledged that challenges, setbacks, failures and disappointment are a part of life. The best laid plans will go awry. People will hurt and disappoint you. Unexpected challenges and issues will pop up as you go about your daily lives, and well thought out decisions may not yield the desired results. So whether it was a lost investment, failed project, dismissal on the job, death of a loved one, relationship issue, incidents and experiences like these typically leave people grappling with a gamut of emotions. That is, emotions such as doubt, despair, fear, hopelessness and uncertainty.
If/when these things happen, even the most focused and driven people among us, can start to feel unmotivated, dejected, low in spirit/energy or tempted to give up on a dream or goal. And here is where the danger of failure becomes most real. One failures, set back/ disappointment can lead to greater failures, lost opportunities and forgotten dreams as people struggle to bounce back, stay the course and keep motivated. Some will even say, this is where mettle is tested, will is sharpened and character is built, as we have to dig deep to find the motivation and courage to continue. After all, it is very difficult to remain positive, motivated, focused and engaged amidst all the curve balls, and challenges that will undoubtedly emerge in our personal and professional lives.
The idea to write this post came as I was reading an article “Failure: A Key to Success“. The article highlighted the fact that, many successful people have experienced repeated bouts of failure/ setbacks along their journeys, that might have crippled them, derailed their goals or made them lose the will to press on. None of what I read was new to me (given my own life experiences, that of my family and friends). But it struck that, all too often and far too easily, we sometimes “forget” where we are coming from, and/or overlook the difficult and dark periods of our lives (and that of others) when success comes around.
“All great people and companies failed their way to success”
When we think of hugely successful people in our societies, the people we admire or aspire to be like, we don’t focus immediately on what it took for them to get to where they are today. We don’t immediately think about the hardships and challenges they experienced and overcame. Better yet, we don’t even pause to consider the current problems that, they might be grappling with to maintain their success. In fact, their true stories might only emerge when they publish memoirs, autobiography or sit down for that rare interview moment. And usually, it is here we learn of their own struggles and what they did to stay focused to attain the levels of success they enjoy today.
The same can be said of couples who have celebrated over 25, 30 or 40 years of marriage. By virtue of high rates of divorce in societies today, and even the current attitudes to the institution of marriage, we are likely to be “wowed” by these milestones, and rightly so. But, in expressing our amazement and congratulatory sentiments, we don’t pause to consider all the issues that, those couples might have fought through, and resolved to make their union work and stay strong. Yet, the fact is, those unions might have weathered some pretty rough storms, as anything worth doing or having requires hard work and real effort. Chances are, that even when you commit to something, work hard at it, there are going to be moments when you don’t feel like it, and moments when you don’t do as well as you (or others) hope and expect.
Failure and pain help us grow
I am pointing out all this to say that, we can learn a lot from other people failures and setbacks as well as our own. For while it’s hard to feel hopeful, when confronted with seemingly insurmountable challenges, and problems, failure isn’t final until we stop trying or , make the decision to give up on a commitment, or walk away. If we pay attention to the difficult parts of the stories of any person who has known success, or reflect on what we might have experienced in our respective journeys to get to where we are today, we will find the inspiration and encouragement we need to push through our current challenge(s). We might also come to find that our problems are not unique, not insurmountable, and if we stay focused- we can and will succeed.
Write the vision and make it clear
Just last week I failed to post a blog for the first time since I started in January 2014. In my first blog post “Just Do It..Do It Now!”, I shared my personal longstanding goal to write a blog and committed to starting it whether it was going to be perfect or not, and whether anyone would read it. Yet, as committed as I remain to that goal, I didn’t post last week. I had begun to generate ideas for the blog as I do weekly, but it never came to fruition. This was compounded by a very hectic week and weekend and a ‘not so wise’ decision to pull two of my wisdom teeth. When I weighed all that was happening with me, my job, studies, volunteering and full-time role as a mom, I successfully talked myself out of posting. Ironically, the week I wanted to write a post on motivation, I had no motivation. I felt even worse when I thought of my kind readers who might have looked forward to my weekly post (sure enough I got a few messages). And while this week was no easier, I resolved that I would make the effort, remain focused and stick to my goal.
Risk failure-history never reveals its alternatives
My blog example is perhaps simple,but, I am challenging myself to stay the course and pursue a goal which has already yielded results far beyond my humble expectations. You might also be struggling with to keep committed to a goal, as you try to balance shifting priorities. Don’t abandon your goals. It is way too easy to procrastinate and/or quit something important when problems or unexpected issues develop.
So whether your goal is to save towards homeownership, a new car, education/professional development, new job, or emotional, spiritual and physical wellness stick with it. You might have “fallen off” the wagon or not fully started, but that is no reason to give up or forget your goals. Remind yourself that, if the goal was important enough for you to set it in the first place, it is still worth the investment of your time and effort. Trust your self in periods of doubt and be disciplined enough to keep trying. It’s in pushing through the difficult periods that, we truly have a chance to learn and discover something new about ourselves.
So, having shared all of that, here are my questions for you:
What goal/resolution(s) did you set for 2014 that you have not acted on?
What area (s) of your life are you experiencing a challenge or a set back?
How do you encourage yourself when you’ve experienced setback, failures and disappointments?
Preserve and remain focused
In the end, if you give up because you’ve failed at first or failed at all, you might miss out on a lot of great opportunities. And even if you gave it your best shot and failed, you will have the comfort and sure knowledge that you did your best. And again, If you’ve never know failure, how will you relate to or encourage the person who has?
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