Thursday, June 14, 2012

The Courage to Fail Well


We can become so stilted toward success in life that we become morbidly fearful of failure. When the drive to achieve sets the compass of all our hopes, there is little room or toleration for missing the mark.
Our very hunger for success may just be the thing that keeps us from true success—the liberation of our person. Only when we are free to fail, abjectly free to remain happily broken, not fearful at all of disappointing people, are we relaxed regarding performance.
And let’s get it straight, life is all about performance.
It seems a core competency in the vanguard toward maturity, that failure would become accepted—not as an end in itself, but as an important means compelling us to a better end.
Going Against The Theme Of Life
It can be hard going against the theme of life, especially regarding our personal preferences for success and others’ expectations that we would be successful.
But the success-at-all-costs approach fails because it is so fearful of failure. It doesn’t have an answer for failure. It may even be confounded by it.
Going against the theme of life, which is the aberrant passion for success, is not about attracting failure per se—for who would do that? It is more about seeing failure as a necessary part of every journey of success. No one can taste success every time.
How would we learn to improve if we never failed? How would we be inspired to win if we never lost? How would we connect with compassion and sorrow if all there was were bliss and happiness? The experience of failure actually makes us more rounded individuals. We become better winners for having lost. And when we can lose, yet we don’t give up, then we have assumed the attitude of a true winner.
Beyond Embarrassment And Humiliation
The essence of failure is the feeling of replete exposure. The outworking of such emotion is generally embarrassment and humiliation. Courage is required in meeting these emotions. These are paradoxical concepts. Where we fail, we most need courage.
Getting beyond embarrassment and humiliation, without denying the failure that has occurred, is reliant on how well we can draw on courage. Courage in this way is the ability to handle truth truthfully.
When we don’t have to hide the truth, and we can live with ourselves beyond the embarrassment and humiliation, no failure can defeat us; not ultimately.
***
In a life that celebrates success and shuns failure, there, the fear of failure runs rife. It would be better to accept failure as a necessary ingredient toward success. When we can celebrate failure because of what we are learning, we are the true path to success.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.

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