May 14, 2009

What would you attempt to do if you know you could not fail?

The following is a very insightful article I came across some time ago. The original link I had was dead, but I found it through goog thankfully. Take the time to read this and really muse over it. There are some powerful messages and evoking questions. You cannot simply read this once, and not reflect on it. Do yourself a favor and soak it up.

Bookmark this link and come back at a set timeframe -- maybe once a month, once every 3 months or 6 months. Read this article occasionally to help prevent yourself from slipping up and getting caught in that dreaded comfort zone.

The fear of failure is probably one of the biggest reasons why most people never even start to pursue their dreams. This fear is not always a conscious fear but mostly an unconscious reaction that prevents you from taking the very actions that will lead to the achievement of your goals. What happens is that the majority of people never even start to pursue their dreams as the mountain of success seems too big to climb and the road to success too long to travel. So, they start finding excuses and blame their position on events and circumstances. For them, living an extraordinary life is something that is "given" to other "lucky" people. Even the few who do eventually draw the line and take responsibility for their destiny run into fear along the way. The way you deal with your fear will determine whether you "make it" or not.

The only way to eventually make any change in your life is to take action. Dreaming and hoping won't do anything for you apart from making yourself feel more out of control. Having the desire for something and not being able to have and experience it is the ultimate pain in life. Fulfilment in life comes from fulfilling your needs and desires elegantly; from wanting something and then having the ability to get it and enjoy getting it. The main reason why most people never take action is because of their fears. Fear gets installed by our interpretations of feedback that we get from taking action. The key word being interpretation. When you take action you always get a result. Whether the result is a success or a failure is entirely up to your interpretation. The quality of your life is not determined by the events of your life, but by your interpretation of what these events and experiences mean. People build up fears by misinterpreting the results of their actions. If they don't achieve exactly their desired outcome after the first or second try they will "train" themselves to avoid it altogether. Think of fear is your personal bodyguard that keeps you from doing things that can be potentially painful. By making the wrong linkages to actions and outcomes you actually instruct your unconscious bodyguard to protect you and keep you from taking action.

The ironic thing is that most people don't even really judge the outcomes of their actions subjectively. They learn to judge outcomes by what is considered failure or success by their own peer group. This explains why most people will try something once or twice and if they don't achieve their desired outcome they will never try it again. If they do they hope that no else finds out. Nobody wants to look stupid and be a failure, right? Unfortunately this mentality is prevalent in our society and with the pressure of being loved, we all learn to do things, almost automatically, that what we believe will be safe. The truth is that most people don't want to be left behind and they are all to happy to see you "fail."

By society's standards, all the great successes in the world are actually "failures" in that they failed numerous times before they succeeded. When you realize that failure is part of the process of success you can start to use it by anticipating it and not allowing any so called failure to defer you from your goals and your vision. Napoleon Hill, after studying more than 500 of the most successful individuals in the world concluded that persistence is one of the key characteristics for success. The ability to keep going regardless of unfavourable outcomes to your actions is a mindset and a testament to your emotional strength. It is therefore not a capability but a skill that you develop as part of your character.

They key to taking consistent action is to not try and overcome your fears but to embrace them. One of the most empowering beliefs you can adopt to assist you in becoming more action minded, is to realize that there are no failures, only results. Every action will produce a result and you are the judge and jury as to what that result means. Thomas Edison was the master of this belief. He "failed" more than a thousand times in trying to invent an electric light bulb. He just never saw any of his experiments as failures, but merely saw them as stepping stones; as a series of results that he had to learn from. He trusted that if he kept on going he will eventually achieve the desired result. Although he was ridiculed by all his peers he had persistence and knew that he cannot fail as long as he keeps taking action.

Success or failure is never based on the outcome of the situation but rather on your beliefs about what constitutes success or failure. If there are no failures what would you attempt that you feared in the past? If you had the belief that there are no failures but only results what would you attempt to do? The number one reason why people fail is not because of ability, talent or resources; but because they never even take the first step. They are immobilized by their fear of failing and looking bad. Can it be that not taking action and spending a lifetime wanting something in vain be the ultimate failure? What if taking action and producing a result means success and procrastination means failure? You get to choose.

By Deon Du Plessis

A link to the article:

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