The reason why people don’t start things is because they are afraid they will fail.
The reason they are afraid to fail is because they will be laughed at, shamed and shunned.
This is how we have been indoctrinated from a young age that we laugh and shame at those who fail because we are made to believe that they are not good enough.
The school system has ingrained in us to play within the rules, do as we are told, follow our teacher’s instructions, and we will be fine.
We carry this indoctrination throughout our lives, doing nothing new, creating nothing new because we are waiting for someone, our supervisor, manager, or boss to tell us what to do next.
When the teacher is not in class we play, when the boss is not at work, we idle because there is no one to give us instructions on what to do next.
So we grow up seeking out bosses and supervisors because without them telling us what to do, we are lost.
It more like a free bird looking for a cage, because once it is caged, it will be managed and told when to eat and drink. According to the bird, by flying freely in the open air, it risks getting lost, it risks looking for food by itself and so it is better to be caged, be feed and be instructed than to hunt for yourself.
School does not teach initiative, it does not teach getting lost in the open sky, it teaches obedience.
So we insulate ourselves from failure by doing what is proven to work before.
Starting something brand new is risky because it exposes us to the risk of failure and if we fail, we will be laughed at, shamed and shunned.
If you never fail, either you are really lucky or you haven’t created and delivered anything new.
But if you succeed often enough to be given the privilege of failing next time, then you are on the road to a series of failures.
Fail, fail, fail, succeed – you get the idea.
Talk to any successful person. She will be happy to tell you about this long string of failures.
I started businesses, and they failed. I organised conferences, and had to cancel some of them, I failed. I wrote certain blog articles, they were not good enough, I failed. I wrote small books and failed. I got bankrupt and lost everything, I failed.
The winning part? I learned from each of these failures.
When you do something new, something untested, you will fail at some point.
I’m not encouraging failure for the sake of failure. I’m encouraging learning how to fail.
The best way to fail is to fail quickly, fail forward, fail cheaply and fail small. A pilot cannot experiment a new landing method while carrying 200 passengers in the plane.
Fail in the small, fail with things that will still keep you in the game.
With each failure, don’t miss the lesson.
When no one retweets your first twitter entry, you don’t quit social media. You tweet again tomorrow and the day after.
When you were a toddler learning to walk, you fell at your first attempt, you didn’t gave up on walking, you didn’t say, “I quit, this walking business is hard,” instead you laughed at yourself and tried again, until you walked properly. You failed your way to success.
The more you fail, the more you learn, and the more you grow.
I personally think straight A students miss the point of school. That’s why Straight A students work for average C students in their businesses or they become academics at universities. Post school, straight A students never take risks, because they are afraid to fail. Average C students are willing to take risks because failure is not fatal to them. Having taken enough risks, Average C students’s businesses succeed to the point that they employ straight A students.
Strive to be a straight A student by all means, we want smart students but never insulate yourself from failure.
I think those who fail the most, win. Because they learn the most.
Every time I meet my entrepreneur friends, we talk about things we failed at. When I have to meet one of them in a week’s time and I haven’t failed at anything, I have to make sure that I go out there, try something new and see how it goes so that I have something to contribute in our discussion when we meet.
In innovation and creativity you will fail, if you are not willing to fail and learn from your failures, maybe consider getting something safe, like a job. Wait, today’s jobs are no longer safe. Basically you have nowhere to hide anymore.
Start something new. The sky won’t fall because you failed.