To Fear Failure is to Succeed at Nothing


The world is full of people who fear failure so much they never pursue their dreams and wind up living an unfulfilled life. We live in a world thinking “what-if” instead of living in a world of “already did.” Countless stories have been recounted and movies made depicting people realizing they only have a short time left to live. Suddenly, they set out on a quest to do everything on their “to-do” list. Many call it a “wish list,” but I disagree, because a wish is a want or desire, but stops short of putting anything into action. Hall of fame hockey player Wayne Gretzky said, “You will miss 100% of the shots you never take.” In life, you will not succeed if you fear failure. How ironic is it that a majority of hall of fame athletes not only hold the top rank of achievement (e.g. most points scored, most assists, etc) but also rank at the top in attempts.  NBA great Michael Jordan once said, “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something, but I cannot accept not trying.” By his own admission, the most famous athlete on the planet, missed more than 9000 shots, lost nearly 300 games, missed the game winning shot 26 times and what was his only excuse? ”I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”

Advertisers spend millions of dollars developing slogans to shake us out of our self-imposed limitations.  Here are a few reminders:

  •  Adidas: Impossible is nothing
  •  Nike: Just do it
  •  Apple computers:Think different
  •  U.S. Army:Be all you can be
  •  Red Cross: The greatest tragedy is indifference
  •  U.S. Marines: Every warrior lives for the fight

You will not conquer what you never confront.  Countries fought for their freedom, companies formed, inventions developed, promotions earned and athletes achieved all because each took a chance on a dream, failed many times in the process, and eventually succeeded. Founding father Benjamin Franklin never thought he failed, he just found many ways he did it wrong. Coach Vince Lombardi argued that he never lost a game, he just ran out of time.

The reason most people do not pursue their dreams is because they fear the idea of change.Change is inevitable; growth is optional,leadership expert John Maxwell reminds us. Everything is in a constant state of change.  Your situation will not begin to change until you do. You can attract success if you commit yourself to learning everything you possibly can through various materials such as reading, audio and video materials (I call your You-niversity), but also staying available to the teachings life has to offer.  Your life is like that of a sea shore; the waves of life’s circumstances incessantly pound the shores of your life Like a thief, erosion will whisk away everything you have worked hard for if you do not do something to reinforce it. Continuous knowledge are the walls that protect success.

Fear has been acronymed  False Evidence Appearing Real or Finding Excuses And Running. Just as a soldier prepares for battle or an athlete prepares for a game, you must study your opponent in order to win.  In order to conquer fear you must first understand what it really is.  Fear is nothing more than a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, whether the threat is real or imagined. An emotion is a feeling and your feelings are often unreliable. In short, fear is nothing more than an unreliable, stress -induced emotion. Can you think of an occasion(s) where you faced insurmountable odds only to overcome them victoriously? No matter how many times you were knocked down, you got back up and by sheer determination fought, scratched and clawed until you prevailed. In the book Thick Face Black Heart, author Chin-ning Chu wrote, “Often the bravest warriors were originally the greatest cowards. The more fear you confront and conquer the greater courage you will possess.”

In his inaugural speech to the recession battered nation, President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” He went on put the nations difficulties in perspective by saying, “The only concern, thank God, are only material things…yet out of distress comes no failure of substance. We are stricken by no plagues of locusts. Compared with the perils which our fathers conquered because they believed and were not afraid, we still have much to be thankful for…Plenty is at our doorstep.”

Tough times do not last, but tough people like you do. Do not let minute details become a roadblock in your quest for success. One day you will be able to laugh when you look back on the adversities you face today. Many of us have lost our health,jobs,homes, automobiles, marriages, and financial independence. You may have faced some unbelievable obstacles, but remember somebody, somewhere has it worse than you.  One thing you can never let go of is HOPE (Having an Opportunistic Perspective Everyday). Always keep the mindset that problems are cleverly disguised opportunities and you must be ready to seize them. Faith in your today’s will make sense in your tomorrows.

  I encourage you to take another shot at the game of life and if you fail, try, try again.  Pursue your dreams; conquer your goals; and recover all that you have wasted by allowing fear to paralyze you. Having fear condones inaction; having faith condemns it.


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