At work, I have a hutch above my desk that I am slowly covering with quotes I like and want to remember. I can’t always remember where they came from–just stuff I liked and typed up, printing off in funky or pretty fonts. One of my favorites is this one:
It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all.
This was from an interview I read with J.K. Rowling, and it’s something that I really love.
I think it’s natural to fear failure. You invest time and effort, sometimes money, oftentimes heart, and failure is almost unthinkable because that means that all that time, effort, money, and heart was a waste.
Except it wasn’t.
That kind of glass is half empty mentality is detrimental. I firmly believe that almost nothing is a waste if you learn from it. If you take that opportunity to deepen your self awareness and grow as a person. I’m in clinical psychology. We’re big on introspection.
I think about this whole idea of taking a risk, of daring to fail a lot because there are people in my life who are terrified by it. People who are so shackled by fear that they restrict their world to a tiny, narrow, experiential space that completely ignores all the joy and variety life has to offer. I think about it because these people don’t see my own fearless pursuit of what I want as brave, as something to admire and aspire to. They see it as foolish and unnecessary risk. And that makes me sad.
Here’s the thing. LIVING is about RISK. Living is about failing. And it’s about picking yourself up and moving on. Think about it. As a child, if you hadn’t risked failure, you would never have crawled. If you hadn’t risked failure, you’d have just sat on your diapered butt when you fell trying to walk on woobly legs. If you hadn’t risked failure, you’d spend the rest of your life dependent on somebody else because you didn’t keep on trying.
So I issue you this charge:
Dare to fail. Dare to live.
Whether it’s writing a book, trying to get published. Whether it’s applying to grad school or going after that job you know you’d love even though it would mean making some financial sacrifices by leaving a stable job you hate. Whether it’s asking out that crush. Whether it’s picking up a new instrument or trying a new hobby. Or even if it’s just trying to cook a new dish you aren’t sure you’re going to like. Dare to fail. Dare to take a risk. And see what you learn from it. The results just might surprise you.