To Fail is to Shine

When I ask people who come to work with me what their biggest fears are, nine times out of ten they say failure.

We are all worried about failing in something. But what is the root of this fear? Is it our education? We are the sons and daughters of a culture of achievements. 

We breathe this in from our very first days: we are praised when we do something well, when we are able to execute tasks, when we compete and win, when we achieve a material something.

And so, quite automatically, we start to associate being loved and respected with our ability to do and achieve. 

Terrible isn’t it? One of our deepest and most uncomfortable fears is simply a response to a huge error of perspective.

We are not "human doings" but "human beings"; our identity should be linked to being, to the expression of ourselves not to the quality of our outcomes. 

And as human being we cannot fail. It is impossible. Especially if we rely on our innate ability to love, listen, communicate and interact.

Failure is only possible in relation to our ability to do something. It is a natural part of our learning process. In order to learn something we have to try and experience it and in doing so we usually make mistakes. This is part of the game, and it is natural.

Failure is normal.

Indeed, it is also 'healthy', because through failure you always learn something that you did not know before and therefore your ability to learn and master grows immeasurably. When you fail you learn more and remember more.

Failure is positive.

Making mistakes and failing makes you stronger, more resilient and more efficient. Look around yourself: how many examples of great athletes and great entrepreneurs do you see that experienced big falls before they achieved their excellence? Virtually everyone. The one that pops into my mind is Steve Jobs: he was thrown out by his own company before returning and taking it on to the worldwide success some years later… In failing you train and improve yourself. 

Failure increases your confidence.

Failing has the power to strengthen your self-confidence: when you rise from your ashes, when you are back on your feet and you start again you receive a priceless boost in confidence.

Failure lets you learn about yourself.

Through failure you are able to value yourself, you better understand the meaning and the value of your life. Failure allows you to ask questions of yourself and it is a great measure of how hungry you are regarding what you are trying to achieve. If you are ready to give up easily when you fall then what you were trying to do didn’t have enough meaning for you. And this information is vital to avoid wasting your energy and your time on something that is not meaningful enough for you.


Post your comment


  • Annalisa 06/05/2015 8:52am (9 years ago)

    Beautiful! So powerful and so true.
    Thank you Maite' for your precious contribution to the theme..

  • Maite 06/05/2015 8:50am (9 years ago)

    Second reading, second understanding. There is no failure, there is only learning process and nobody can pretend to have learned it all in one go. We all need repetition to learn. Repetition is not synonym of failure but of learning a bit more each time. What a negative way of looking at learning when we start thinking of failure first instead of learning process. We don't do it with a child, why should we do it with ourselves later on? We are like a child each time we learn something different. So let's be as benevolent to ourselves as we would be to any one who is in a learning process. Thanks Annalisa for your choice of shared thoughts. Always very enlightening.

  • Annalisa 23/04/2015 7:50am (9 years ago)

    Exactly Maite'. I love what you are saying : "fear just disappears".
    When we know we are loved we are fearless and we allow ourselves to fail all the time needed to master our lesson...

  • Maite 23/04/2015 7:41am (9 years ago)

    Love conditioned to our capacity of achieving. Thanks for that enlightenment. So simple, so obvious and so true. With that in mind, fear just disappears because love is not about doing but about who we are. Thank you Annalisa.

RSS feed for comments on this page | RSS feed for all comments