Just as there can be no night without day, and no light without darkness, there can be no winning without losing and no success without failure. The two are intrinsically linked, every success we achieve we do so having played a game of calculated risk, knowing that the final outcome could be less than satisfactory.
Take any successful person, be it in sport, business, the entertainment industry or any field for that matter, and what comes to mind? The trophies they have won, the accolades they have collected, the smiles, the laughter, the moments of joy and happiness, the great successes they have achieved? Yet for all of that there are numerous, and often untold, tales of defeat, of lessons learned the hard way. But each and every one of them has achieved success knowing that the failures were a necessary part of the journey.
We all have desired outcomes, goals that we want to achieve in life, yet when it comes down to the nitty gritty many of us are not prepared to endure the inevitable setbacks and disappointments that are an integral part of any success story. Nobody ever reached the top, or anywhere near the top, of their game, their profession, their company, without first having tasted defeat, often multiple times. Yet we choose to focus on the end success, forgetting the months, weeks and years of dedication that goes in to moulding life’s champions.
Our fascination with other people’s success stories means that we are quick to forget there is no straight line to the top. When it comes to our own goals we find it all too easy to throw in the towel at the first sign of hardship. However, when we know that there will be failures along the way we can learn to adapt, and indeed the most successful people I have met over the years are all masters at adjusting in the face of defeat. For they know that it is not fatal, and instead they embrace the challenge and work out a way to keep moving towards their goals, they are masters at failing because they learn, develop and grow from every one of life’s experiences, good or bad.
Too many of us have become scared of failing; as children we cared not what others thought, had no concern for falling at the first hurdle, minds free from ‘what ifs’, just a pure, unadulterated desire to try, learn and ultimately strive to be the best we could at anything we turned our hands to. Slowly that desire has been diluted by other people’s opinions and limiting beliefs in our ability, to the extent where ‘dancing under the lights’ has become a distant dream that exists somewhere in the empty void on the edge of our comfort zone. Instead we choose not to even try in the first place, allowing our dreams and life to pass us by, paralysed by the fear of the outcome instead of learning to focus on the process.
It’s time to get comfortable facing negative results, the disappointments and defeats and take them for what they are, lessons in life that, if learned, can lead us to great success. We will fail, but we will rise once more, stronger, wiser and one step closer to achieving success. After all “he who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life.” Therefore it’s not so much a question of what do you want to accomplish in life, but are you prepared to take the necessary risks, and their inevitable consequences, required to get there?