In 2020, Are You Willing To Fail?
Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back.”
No truer statement has been made. Sometimes you have to throw something back, but what happens when the thing you need to throw back is yourself?
We’ve been told that honesty is the best policy; however, when it comes to being honest with ourselves, we tend to deflect to safeguard our true feelings. We would never let others know that we are lonely, depressed, feeling inadequate, or that life has been mostly a series of challenges and failures.
It sounds morbid. Letting others know that we live a disconsolate life, full of misery and despair, is embarrassing, right? No one wants to be that person, but sadly, many of us are living this life today, hoping and praying that something will change.
Change comes from within. There is a quote that says genuine change must first come from within the individual – only then can he or she attempt to make a significant contribution to humanity.
You have heard the words, “Change comes from within” from many self-help books and groups, but believing in it is a process that can take years to achieve.
Yes, some people will tell us, you can change your life sooner, and they are correct. But changing your perspective and living within that perspective takes time.
I’ve tried for years to lose weight and, like most of us, claimed it as my New Year’s resolution; however, the only thing that happened was my weight seems to have gained a few family members.
Claim after claim, resolution after resolution, I’m still trying to live within my perspective of change. My perspective to change is there, but living it seems to have faded away.
When this happens, you must be willing to fail, in oder to be successful. In this three-part series on “Having Self Worth,” let’s try to tackle your fear of failing.
You Must Be Willing To Fail!
Do you remember the story of The Little Engine That Could from your childhood? It was published in 1930 to teach children the value of optimism, courage, determination, and hard work.
I remember rooting for the train hollering out, “I think I can, I think I can” as it tried and tried to make it up the hill. When the little engine finally made it, shouting, “I know I can!”, I jumped for joy.
What happened to that little kid in us? Why aren’t we pushing ourselves anymore to be the best? Why have we stopped dreaming? Where has our creative imagination gone? Why have we stopped believing in ourselves?
If we are honest with ourselves, we will admit we stopped looking at the person in the mirror. Michael Jackson sang a song called Man In The Mirror. He sings, “I’m gonna make a change, for once in my life. It’s gonna feel real good, gonna make a difference, gonna make it right.”
No matter what your feelings are about Michael, he was a musical genius and those words are simple, but profound.
Habakkuk 2:2 tells us to “Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables, that he may run that readeth it.” These words of encouragement were meant to help us understand that the same person that wanted to succeed is still there ready and waiting for you. The inner you is screaming to come out and show you that way.
For several decades, I’ve used this paradigm with some of the people I’ve counseled. I told them to go to a mirror and look at the person within the mirror. Stand there for a few minutes and look. The person in the mirror is you, but as you stare, for a brief moment, you will begin to see you as a separate person.
It’s an eerie feeling at first, but I urge you to continue. Then I ask them to tell that person, “I Love You!” Continue saying it several times, and if you can get past the tears of finally seeing you and perceiving your worth, I ask them to daily speak positive words to that person standing in the mirror.
I call it the inner-challenge test. It challenges you to see the good in you, your worth within. Once you have discovered it, no one will ever be able to make you feel worthless again. Not even you! But remember, it’s a process.
I like that old saying, “If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again.” Why are we so afraid to fail? History has shown us that some of the most successful people have failed, and failed on several occasions. Failing to achieve the outcome of what we ultimately desire is a part of life. We all have failed!
But the simple fact is, you must be willing to fail to succeed. Falling is the attempt to do or be something great, but you haven’t gotten there …yet. There’s power in “yet!”
I’m proud to say I’ve failed at many things. I was one of the top baseball players in the city, but I was unable to make it to the big leagues. I have a gifted voice, but I failed to get professional training to use it. I’m very creative, but I’ve failed in the production of many of my ideas.
What makes me proud is that I realize that I’m talented in a lot of things, but I haven’t gotten there…yet. So I still believe in myself!
However, make note – and this is important – failing should never equate to failure. Failing means you are still on track to being successful. Failure means you have given up on being successful.
You Must Be Willing To Learn
Since you know that failing is a part of life, what do you do with it? I like this quote from Benjamin Franklin: “Tell me, and I forget. Teach me, and I remember. Involve me, and I learn.”
Get involved in learning from what you have failed at, so that you can ensure that you don’t repeat the same mistakes. Don’t feel depressed that things didn’t happen as planned – be involved in making it happen.
Paraphrasing 2 Timothy 2:15, “Study to show thyself approved. Be not ashamed.” Learning from failed endeavors can only be accomplished if you are not afraid to admit, “I made a mistake!” Strength comes from the acceptance of each failed attempt.
Learning from the things you have failed in is the first step toward achieving success. Be triumphant in dissecting why you failed. Learn how to be victorious from failing.
Get involved and excited about it, because one day you will look back and say, I remember when! By getting involved and being willing to learn from your mistakes, a stronger, more confident you will appear. I can already see a new you in the mirror!
Apply What You Have Learned
Now that you can see the real you, let’s begin to apply some of the things that you have learned about yourself.
• What skills did you rediscover?
• What lessons did you learn?
• How can you put them to use?
Maybe you rediscovered your love for fashion or remembered as a child that you wanted to be a doctor; well, it’s not too late to go back to school, and these days you can go to school from the privacy of your home. So, what are you waiting for!
Applying the lessons learned helps develop and improve your chances of succeeding in those failed attempts that caused you to feel like a failure.
Application, applying what you have learned, communication, being honest that you have made a mistake, and determination, being resolute and never willing to give up on yourself, will bring upon you the self-worth you need to be successful.
Are you ready?
(Check out Part 2 of “Having Self Worth”, I Believe In Myself, coming next week on N’DIGO Online.)
Editor’s Note: This is the debut of a new column for N’DIGO Online called “Life Lessons: Changing The Narrative” by Rick McCain.
Rick has been in the ministry for 30 years, with over 20 years of counseling experience in marriage and singles ministries. He has been married for 25 years to his wife, Brenda McCain, and they share words of wisdom on their internet radio show called Let’s Stay Together Talk.
Educated in Speech Communication and Religious Studies and certified as a religious counselor, Rick has a strong desire to help others reach their potential by providing encouragement, sound advice, and the knowledge he has gleaned from his counseling experiences.
Rick and Brenda are also theater critics-at-large who review plays in the Chicagoland area under their banner, “Let’s Play.” Some of those reviews are published on N’DIGO Online.