The Man In The Arena
We learn from failure, failure can teach us lessons we'll never forget, if you've chasing hefty goals chances are you've failed before - if you get back up and try again you're ahead of the pack, at least 90% of people give up after hitting their first roadblock or their first temporary failure (remember, failure is only permanent if you quit there and then).
Listening to a workout mix of mine on the way to the gym an old Greg Plitt quote caught my attention and resonated with me.
"I failed is ten times more of a man than someone who says what if, cause what if never went to the arena"
You won't always win first place, there's always going to be someone out there stronger than you, leaner than you or faster than you. No problem.
The horrific thing is when this is used an excuse to throw in the towel before you've even begun. You may not think that way now, or in the not-so distant past because you brushed off an opportunity or chose not to pursue an ideal that you were considering...
is the one question you do not ever want to be left asking yourself.
This applies to literally any scenario...
Applying for a new job that you suspect may have some slightly higher skilled applicants
Attempting to break your 1 rep max personal record on squats
Approaching that cute girl that looked and smiled at you as you departed the gym
Leaving the safety net of the 9 - 5 fixed income to set out on an entrepreneurial adventure, chasing your dream
Travelling abroad for a semester or to work for a year
Let's pretend for a second the worst case scenario happened in each of the above situations and you did fail...
You just updated your resume, gained practise writing a cover letter and overall experience applying for future (similar) jobs, perhaps you even got some feedback on where you went wrong.
If you failed on that squat 1RM you would've lowered the bar down to the safety rails, identified which part of the lift you got stuck on in order to determine which muscle groups need further development to ensure it doesn't happen again.
The girl turns you down politely with an excuse that she has a boyfriend or similar, perfect. You've now realized that rejection isn't that scary and you're one step closer to overcoming approach anxiety. Next time it'll be easier.
Your start-up business doesn't gain traction and you run low on funds - you've got experience in an industry and can easily return to a similar job if need be (I wouldn't though, I recommend you burn your boats).
You travel and the foreign destination isn't as exciting as you imagined, no big deal - you gained life experience and met a plethora of interesting people along the way. You now have stories to tell unlike those in your hometown stuck in the same Monday - Friday repetitive loop.
In my eyes that's the worst that can (realistically) happen in each of the above situations. Being pessimistic.
The worst thing is what happens when you decide to continually make excuses, brush it off and then fail to even try.
You'll lay awake in your bed at night thinking about this missed opportunities when you didn't man up or see the thing through that's when those dreaded two words begin to populate your mind...
You can't answer that question, you'll never know because you never took action.
In Becoming A Lion Among Sheep embracing failure is one of the Success habits I discuss, I've failed time and time again.
The funny thing is though I don't remember any of those individual failures, they didn't have any lasting monumental impact. I learnt or I pivoted and then succeeded.
On the other hand the few opportunities that I let slip away, not because I didn't have the ability... because I didn't have the confidence to take action still elude me to this day often pop up in my subconscious mind, what would've happened if I pursued that endeavour? Started that business? Asked that question? Spoke to that girl?