Success and failure are faces of the same coin, yet failure affects us more. Despite it being perceived as a stepping stone to success, for many, failure is the end of the road.
Most of us live in constant fear of being judged and refuse to even peep out of our socially-accepted comfort zones. What we fail to understand is this fear of judgement will make us sluggish and eventually lead us to our doom.
Edison failed 10,000 times.
Fear of judgement makes us vulnerable to criticism and corrodes our creativity. All originality is lost as we push ourselves to come up with ideas to appease the crowd, ultimately leading to failure. Almost all of us have experienced this. An ideal example of this is when we mumble words, instead of confidently offering our opinions in a meeting. Caught amid a billion negative thoughts, there are times when we start to sweat and find it difficult to even open our mouths–feeling like victims of furtive whispers and hostile sniggers in the workplace when none of it is true.
Had American scientist Thomas Alva Edison feared being judged for failing, he would not have invented the electric bulb. When asked about the arduous path he took, he is supposed to have said, “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
The Jobs story
With start-ups being the order of the day, one thing is evident. Most successful organisations have emerged from unconventional ideas put forth by individuals who had the courage to crush their fear and were ready to face any hurdles. At this juncture, I am strongly reminded of one of the greatest inventors of our time–Steve Jobs, who redefined the wired world with his brilliant work at Apple.
In the early 2000s, nobody in their wildest dreams would have dreamt of having thousands of songs and videos in a gadget half the size of your palm. Jobs did the unthinkable, he introduced the iPod. Jobs was a maverick thinker, who revolutionised the gizmo world. He never shied away from presenting his ideas. Had he feared what his colleagues thought about his ideas, we would not have had the privilege of using Apple products. He once said, “Remembering I will be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”
Throw the fear away
Sir Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” The greatest of great men have failed numerous times. Had they given up, they would never have emerged as winners. Fear is just an emotion like happiness. Sometimes, you need to own fear to overcome it. Be assertive and tell yourself that the result is not going to impact you, but the sheer joy lies in trying and making an effort. Before it is too late, why not get out of that shell and think– what if my idea could change the fate of the world?