I’ve failed at many things during my life, or did I? The truth is we are never going to get everything right, we are never going to succeed at everything, we really are not!
For me, I have never learnt anything from a success but have learnt so much from a failure, a low point or a disappointment. As I look back over my life those moments really were my growing points. If we go into anything in life thinking we are going to fail the truth is we will – it’s the mind set. When I first started in comedy I would stand side stage waiting to walk on thinking “This is not going to be good!” I would walk on almost believing the gig was going to be awful and guess What? It normally was! Was it the audience? Room? Place? Jokes? No it was me. I had sent myself up for failure, I almost drew it in!
When my confidence grew and I let go of the “Failure” mindset things changed and almost immediately, I began to believe in myself and for someone who can sometimes struggle with that, it was life changing. Have I “failed” since then? Yes but I don’t use the word “failed” I use the word “lesson!” If I’m honest I’ve not always learnt from the lesson, sometimes I’ve had to learn it over and over again for the lesson to sink in. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome. Trust me from a man who tested this theory many times, nothing changes. It really doesn’t. What I try and do now is to asses and regroup and learn. I believe life is about growth and about lessons. As I said before I have not grown as a person from happy successful places, I really haven’t!
The problem is when we are at low points or believe ourselves to have failed it’s very difficult to see it as a lesson or growth! Because of my depression, anxiety and PTSD it’s very difficult to focus on anything other than failure. Problem is here the more you focus on the negative the more negative it becomes. I try now to look at any situation that I may be going through as a positive – I spin it on its head. The old saying “everything happens for a reason” always springs in to my head. Does this make it easier? Less painful? Less deflating? No. But what it does do and is my experience, is to take a step back and look at the reason I see it as a failure. What did I do? Could I have done it differently? How did I get to this point? What would I do if I had the choice again? And then starts the growth. Will I experience the feeling of failure again? Hell yes but I have some tools today!
To give a rather simple example of this is to share with you my D.I.Y failures! There are hundreds! I’ve electrocuted myself putting up a security light, drilled into water pipes, tried to make a foundation for a shed using cement and a sofa (don’t ask!). Painted over a door bell, built a table that wobbled like a rough sea crossing and the list goes on! I would fail, get frustrated, angry, impatient and irritable . So I looked at it, assessed it and grew from it. I now don’t do D.I.Y. – a simple solution. I don’t fail at it, I don’t hurt myself from it. I don’t hurt or put others in danger as a result of it and more so, I don’t put myself through it! D.I.Y and me don’t fit and I spent so long trying to make it fit. Simple solution was to say to myself “it doesn’t fit! (a bit like most shelves I ever tried to build!). I have drills, tool boxes and D.I.Y things that any builder, chippy, plumber and electrician would be proud of but if all these things just lead to failure – what’s the point? I put the tools down and now my shelves are strong and able to hold much more weight! Funny that.
On flip side to not try something through fear of failure is also wrong – you may be surprised what you are capable of. I’ve shocked myself many times! But, if it doesn’t go right and you think you have failed you haven’t! Real failure is to not be brave enough to give it a go in the first place. So in my mind, there is no such thing as failure! And no, I’m never putting up a security light again although I’ve mastered changing a bulb! Get Me!
I suppose the bottom line is if we set ourselves up to fail we will never learn anything! Taking a step into the unknown can be scary and uncomfortable but it’s like going to the gym. You won’ get fit sat on the couch waiting a burger watching other people work out, eat healthy and doing exercise! You kinda got to get up and do something, really anything!
My girlfriend said to me the other day after a few hours in the kitchen cooking dinner, “Oh my God you can cook!” I swear I just made it up as I went along with not a clue what I was really doing but I just thought “make it edible and hot and present it well. You got this Ian”
Positive thoughts, positive action (positive pasta!) and a belief it was going to be just fine. Problem is now she thinks I am an amazing cook – God help us both! I went into this with the failure word wasn’t’ even an option, it wasn’t in my soul, spirit or mind set but if it had turned out to be a disaster meal, I didn’t fail I just learnt what to do differently next time.
You are not a failure at anything! We are all a work in progress and in charge of our own thoughts and direction. Build your life map, direction and soul, it’s impossible to fail at anything in life, you honestly just need to remind yourself of that. Go on, give it a Go! You have nothing to lose. Nothing! And care not what others think! If they criticise or judge or pass negative comments, remember they just want to do what you have done and be who you are – Fearless!
Better an “Oops” than a “What if?”