Why is it that we are so afraid of failure? Failure is as natural as succeeding — in fact, they aren’t the opposites that you may think they are. In all honesty, there is only one form of failure. There is one result that should be dubbed a failure and one only. You see, failure isn’t not succeeding. Failure is not allowing for the process of success to come around full circle; it’s giving up too early.
Failure is not having the courage and the endurance to weather the storm, to make it across that finish line. Success itself is not as competitive as most people would believe it to be. It’s not a race in which there is only one winner. You aren’t trying to beat everyone else — at least, you shouldn’t be. There is no reason why your success should require the failure of others. It’s this form of thinking and the misinterpretation of failure itself that holds you back from succeeding.
Success itself is not so much a goal as it is a state of being. You either are or aren’t successful. You’ll never hear anyone going around and telling people that they have reached success, that they have traveled the road, ran the race, swam across the ocean and climbed the mountain to the pinnacle that is success. You’ll never hear that. What you will hear, however, is people saying that they ARE successful. That they have BECOME successful. That they are living successful lives.
Success is a state of being and therefore can be achieved by every individual, simultaneously. I’m not quite sure where the idea of becoming successful at another’s expense came from, but it’s a crude and archaic way of thinking. Possibly centuries ago when there was little to go around and you had to fight for survival, possibly then success was achieved at an opponent’s expense. These days, on the other hand, there is more than enough of everything to go around. There’s no need for some to suffer so that one can be dubbed successful.
Success does require victories and those victories may require finishing ahead of others. However, any single race won is nothing more than a victory. Just as a race lost is a loss. Failure and success are things of a slightly different and more profound nature. Success and failure really only involve one individual: you. It’s not the races, competitions or battles with others that make you successful; it’s the battles that you win against yourself that make you a success.
Success is the improvement, or positive change, in you as an individual, as a person. Failure, on the other hand, is the negative or neutral change in you. If you want to be successful then all you need to do is constantly do your best to outdo your best — constantly work towards improving yourself and the best that you can do in whatever aspect of your life matters to you.
Most people believe success to be something that is achieved. For this reason the majority of people live within the sad illusion that — because they have yet to reach success — they are failures. If you believe that success is the pot of gold at the end of the road then, logically, everything prior to it is failure. How depressing does that sound? It’s so depressing and self-defeating that most people never make any improvements. They are too discouraged from all the “failure” they are experiencing day-in and day-out. Success isn’t an achievement — it’s the effort put into achieving.
It’s difficult to see success for what it truly is because it isn’t accompanied by the glory or reward(s) that winning is accompanied by. Making progress little by little won’t give you a fat check or a trophy. It will, however, give you the only important reward: satisfaction. There is no need to look outside in the material world for satisfaction.
We don’t require money or material possessions to feel satisfied; it’s enough that we improve, learn and grow. As long as we better ourselves little by little and work on whatever project it is that we are working on every day, we are successful in the only way that matters. The beauty of this is that because we are focusing on improving and being successful every moment of every day, we are turning winning into an inevitability.
Most people fail because they either don’t try or quit too early in the game. You’re not a failure if you lose; you’re a failure if you don’t bother to play the game. Understand that you can’t fail if you try for long enough and life will become easier. Each time you fail to win, you learn a new way to lose. Learn all the ways to lose and the only thing you will be left with is the way to win. This learning process is success. Every time that you win or lose — as long as you learn — you are successful.
Progress is the key. We may not all be able to come into first place in one specific race, but there are plenty of races to go around. If you don’t win this one, there will be another. Learn to love the process and you’ll appreciate life in a way you never thought possible.