Failure is Not An Option, It’s a Prerequisite

Published on: June 4, 2012

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“Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failures and go on to the next challenge. It’s OK to fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not growing.” H. Stanley Judd

Why are people scared of failure? Where in our personal history did we subscribe to the notion that failing is bad? As the title of this blog suggests, Failure is not an option – it’s a prerequisite.

I can hear your mind churning over with the obvious question – stay with me a little longer while I explain. Why is failure bad? You might cite the obvious answer – it prevents me from getting what I want. It makes me unworthy or hopeless. The underlying aspect behind failure is that YOU and YOU alone assign meaning to what failure represents.

Do you think Thomas Edison regarded himself a failure after the tenth attempt to invent the electric light bulb? What about after the 450th attempt? Most people would be discouraged after three attempts, let alone 10,000. Yet that’s what it took to invent the electric light bulb.

His famous quote signifies the truth of his reality, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Thomas Edison reframed failure to mean something greater. His declaration implied it took 10,000 attempts to create something which previously didn’t exist.

What if your task or goal requires continual failure to get it right? Would you still proceed despite this? Tony Robbins suggests failure is an undesired outcome. I find this an ingenious approach, since at times we want to control things which are beyond the scope of our control.

If you have a big dream or goal, failure is inevitable. I’m yet to come across any literature in history about those who’ve succeeded with an invention, goal or dream in their first attempt. Leonardo da Vinci was one such exemption since he created many of his inventions in his mind. He used the power of imagination and creativity to bring to life many of his greatest inventions.

His reasoned that once it is created at the level of the mind, bringing it to life is second nature. While there have been few geniuses to rival Leonardo da Vinci, his biographer’s noted he spent hours tirelessly fine tuning his inventions to bring them to life.

Our nature lends itself to failure. There are unknown variables beyond our control. While the greatest men are able to master their thoughts, few of us have the ability to harness the power of our mind like a laser beam. Our thoughts ultimately influence our success.

When we co-create with universal forces, it takes the burden off our need to be exact, perfect and hard on ourselves. The concept of failure is diminished since there’s no timing or deadline to get it right the first time.

I want you to reframe the notion of failure from this point forward. Whatever endeavour you face, view it from a higher perspective. By that I mean if you were the universe looking down on yourself, what advice or counsel would you give?

Personally when I adopt this way of thinking, the thought that takes place in my mind is – you’re on the right track, go easy on yourself. When we remove guilt or pressure, we allow our unique energy to reveal itself. This true energy is a consciousness which knows all. Align yourself with this energy using your unconscious mind to help you steer a path toward the answer.

How can you achieve this? I suggest find what works for you. Some years ago I scaled back working with clients one on one to focus on my speaking, writing and coaching business. At first I was a little anxious I had made the wrong decision, as I took a pay cut to pursue my passion.

I noted spare time during the afternoon. I was taking twenty minute naps during this period due to tiredness. This initially took me by surprise since I thought I was slacking off; yet I was genuinely tired from sitting at a computer instead of being active; which is what I was accustomed to.

Over time I noted during these 20 minute intervals, some of my best ideas for articles, projects, business ideas emerged. I now leave a notepad beside my bed and jot down any thoughts that emerge up during the naps.

Upon further examination, I was tapping into my subconscious mind during the twenty minute rest, thus creating a conducive environment for new ideas. Have you noted when you’re stressed, being creative is almost impossible?

This is due to engaging the left brain, which is logical and seeks answers. The right brain is intuitive, holistic and creative. Using this practice allowed me to push through failure by viewing it from a different perspective. Invariably, years ago I would’ve ruminated at my desk seeking answers with little success. By going into a conducive, subconscious state my mind found the best way to harness its creative ability.

My suggestion for overcoming failure is the following:

  1. Find your unique way to harness your potential. It might be a nap, a walk, down time while relaxing in nature or whatever. Experiment with it. A word of advice – being in a relaxed state is the best way for this process to take place.
  2. Reframe failure to something that needs to happen to create a positive outcome. Often the result hinges on a number of failures which brings you closer to you desired result.
  3. Remove the pressure from having a desired outcome. That outcome already exists within universal consciousness. You just have to get your mind and body attuned into it.

You’re continually one step closer to your desired outcome every time you fail. Learn to embrace failure as a necessary step forward, not a stop sign. Know that every time you fail, the process reveals itself a little more.

Your greatest victory will come when you learn to work with the power of your mind. When you accept there are no such thing as failure, progress and success will be ready to greet you. Knowing this, failure is not an option – it’s a prerequisite.

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2 Responses to Failure is Not An Option, It’s a Prerequisite

  1. Emma-Lee says:

    hi, your 3 points are interesting and I might put them into practise.
    thank you Tony

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