Daily Motivation: Failure

Welcome back to another Daily Motivation post, specifically designed to help guide logical and positive thinking. If you missed the last post catch up here and be sure to subscribe to be notified for the next post!


Very few things in this world are simple but, invariably, whenever you seek to do something you will either fail or succeed. Society typically views the latter as the better option, and the prior as something to be ashamed of.

The two are polar opposites, but both are of equal distances from each other. When you succeed at something you undoubtedly feel good, an overwhelming feeling of relief aswell as pride. Why? Well, according to Ian H. Robertson, winning increases the release of dopamine receptors, making you “more smarter and more bold”.

There’s also the constant fear that all the time, energy and work you’re putting into your aspirations may go to waste; that you may ultimately be humiliated with very little (or less even) to show for it. Because winning is, in itself, a moment. The build up allows us to intelligently predict what will await us in the end but we can never be certain. It’s during this period that we experience the most.

Think about it like this, you’re driving up a very steep hill and, no matter what, you’re going to go crashing down the other side; no questions asked. The drive up is your work and perseverance: some aspirations have shorter hills, others are much longer. Unfortunately, as much as we’d give to find out, our windscreens are blackened so the size of the hill is a mystery to us.

Image result for car up a hill

But what we do know is that either success or failure is our reward, both eagerly await their call. When we succeed there’s a crash and when we fail there’s a crash, everything that bubbled up within us, the high expectations, the sacrifices, the dreams, all of which come crashing down — at least momentarily.

When you achieve what you want, it’s great! Hill cleared, go find a new hill now that may just be a mammoth of the one you already cleared, or an entirely different venture. Although, I have to warn you: you know all those expectations that were weighing you down before and making your climb more treacherous? Yeah, those are gonna increase by tenfold.

When we fail, we decide to do one of three things: 1) Find a new hill, 2) go back to the start of the hill we started at, or 3) retreat from the hills altogether. A common misconception about failure and success is that failure is what is terrifying, but that isn’t the case. In fact, success is just as terrifying as failure, if not more.

This is because the acquirement of success doesn’t always necessitate the acquirement of knowledge – which is essential to avoiding subsequent failure. The most amazing and beneficial thing about failure is that it inspires you to learn and through that learning, you learn how much you didn’t know to begin with.

Answer this truthfully: How many of you have succeeded at something you’d previously had a shot at and thought to yourself wow I really didn’t know half as much as I should have. The thing about ‘getting lucky’ is that it usually arises from a circumstance where knowledge on your behalf wasn’t necessary; but inevitably you will be required to think beyond what you’e accustomed to.

I remember being in school and not revising for a lot of my exams, I completely ‘winged’ many, many years of finals because, for whatever reason, I was doing well. It wasn’t necessarily ‘luck’ but it wasn’t really due to ‘knowledge’ on my side either, if anything it was due to circumstance. Each year had modules and syllabuses that were similar to the last, so the prior knowledge I had assembled from when I had worked hard and through at least listening in class allowed me to do decently.

Eventually situations change, syllabuses get scrapped, new ones get introduced and, out of the blue, you find yourself in a whole new ocean with new sharks to tame. And that’s life in general. Whether its a crash in the market or a higher-up in your organisation looking in to the efficiency of your work; if your knowledge revolves around (or rather points toward) a narrow objective alone; you’ll be caught off guard when life rolls its dice and your numbers come up.

This may sound like I’m completely discrediting what I just said but please, don’t become too obsessed with knowing everything and anything in the pursuit of certainty. Yes it is useful to know more and avoid blissful ignorance but success can never be a certainty.

The message here is: don’t go into anything with the certainty of succeeding, this is where people set themselves up to be disheartened when, really, there’s no need to be. Instead, assure yourself that there is no need to be afraid of failure. That doesn’t mean expect it, nor does it mean ignore it. Accept it for what it is, and if it happens take it as an assurance that life remains true; rather than something out of the likes of Christopher Nolan’s Inception.

And once you fail, you’ll see that you find hidden treasures that, without which, would have been merely, empty pitfalls.
-Danny

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