Are You Afraid Of Trying?
There was this prominent business leader giving an interview on a famous talk show. He had built several large companies, and had enjoyed massive amounts of success with them. It wasn’t always this way. We often make a mistake of perception when we see successful people. We assume that they were always successful, or they have some kind of secret edge that the rest of us donâ€™t’ have. Maybe they were lucky enough to attend a prestigious university, or just enjoyed a string of lucky breaks.
But here’s some news that a lot of us don’t like to hear. A poll was done with successful, independent business owners. And when I say successful, I mean they were making enough money to live a good life, without any financial worries or difficulties. Wondering if they have enough money to buy something is not usually a concern for these people. The poll was to determine exactly how long it took for them to be successful. One question that was asked to help determine this was how many businesses they’d started before they started making serious money. The average answer was over ten.
All these successful people had, in some form or another, started at least ten businesses that ultimately failed before they finally found their niche.
The reason I say most of us don’t like to hear this is because most of us are completely terrified, some even to the point of inaction, of the very thought of failure. Trying and failing, for some of us, is our worst nightmare. We imagine some horrible memory from our childhood, often vague and distant, but painful nonetheless. We imagine ourselves a little bit into the future, trying something new, and then suddenly imagining all the horrible things that will happen if we aren’t successful. Then the fear and anxiety kicks in, and we come up with a million reasons, or rather excuses, why we don’t want to try. Most of these excuses are self-delusional. See if you recognize some of the more popular ones:
I don’t have time.
I don’t have enough money.
People from my background (whatever you think that is) can’t do that.
I’m a woman.
I’m (insert your ethnicity here).
As soon as I (insert your lame excuse here) I’ll do that.
I’m going to get started next week.
As soon as I get a raise at work.
As soon as I get a boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife/partner.
As soon as I pay off my credit cards.
The bottom line is all these are just excuses to cover the real reason we are afraid of trying. A mistaken belief that we formed before we even learned to speak. Since the first time we cried, and our moms didn’t come and immediately pick us up, we had to come up a reason to fill the cause/effect mechanism in our brains. This belief was created, and ratified thousands of times during the most formative years of our childhood.
I’m not good enough.
The good news is that this is only true if you believe it. If you don’t believe it, and throw it out like the garbage that it is and insert a more empowering belief in its place, that will be just as true.
Then you’ll learn one of the most elusive, deceptive and at the same time most powerful secrets of human development and potential.
Mistakes and failures are the best things you can do to be successful, in anything you try. Instead of seeing “mistakes,” or “failures,” as proof of your erroneously believed inadequacy, you’ll see them for what they truly are.
Feedback from the environment in which you are operating. If you have a clear and solid goal of where you want to go, these mistakes and failures will be the things that keep you on track, and guide you toward you target like a heat seeking missile.
This famous businessperson in the interview was asked as simple question:
“How can I double my success rate?”
The answer was quick, straightforward and simple:
“Double your failure rate.”
The most successful people, in any field, understand this. Every action they take offers feedback. They look at every feedback as a golden opportunity to analyze their actions, compare them to the results that the actions created, and then to go back and modify their actions to get better results the next time around.
When you make this process a habit, success is inevitable. No matter what you are after, with this mindset, you will achieve it. It may take time, and you may not get there in the way that you thought, but you’ll get there.
And for bonus points, you can learn to enjoy the path. For those that have learned to enjoy the journey, as well as the destination, are the happiest people in the world.