Failure is the instance of falling short of success. It is both a universal truth and an inevitable part of the human experience. No matter what time or place in history everyone has known failure.
“To err is human…”Alexander Pope
Despite the fact that each and every person; at some point in their lives has and will experience failure, we’re all afraid to fail. We must then ask ourselves why this is so.
In my exploration, I’ve found that people are afraid to fail because of the understanding that time is a very important and limited resource. The thought of investing loads of time, money and resources into something and then have it not work out is terrifying. Frequently, this bars people from actually pursuing their dreams or venturing out into new directions.
The ancient Stoics firmly believed that the pain and disappointment brought on by failure was an opportunity for self-improvement; that failure presents lessons. The philosopher Epictetus said;
It is worth noting Epictetus was a man who had all the odds stacked against him. Epictetus wasn’t even his real name. ‘Epiktētos’ is a Greek word meaning ‘acquired’. Epictetus was a slave. He wasn’t regarded important enough to be given a name. Yet despite the many obstacles in his life he chose to push through and is now revered as one of the many great philosophers.
When I think of the reasons why I am afraid to fail, I think about my understanding of the concept of opportunity and cost. I think about all the things that I will miss out on because I devoted myself to a particular cause. What the cost of being involved in this undertaking will be and all the sacrifices I would have to make. I fear failure because this one life is surely not enough to accomplish everything I set out to do. I especially fear failure because each time I am unsuccessful; I have to take a long walk back to my comfort zone. Is it worth it?
I believe that failure to life is what gravity is to our bones. It is a constant stressor that forces our activity and strength in our bodies. Failure breaks down the muscles of our inner processes in order to regenerate them.
Failure is what helps us toughen our minds for the challenges that lay ahead. We may fear failure and do all we can to avoid it. However, when it occurs, we should not be ashamed or bow our heads in defeat. Failure is a gift that allows us to constantly evolve and improve. Much like gravity, failure is a hard habit to shake off.