The sheer rebelliousness in giving ourselves permission to fail frees a childlike awareness and clarity. . . . When we give ourselves permission to fail, we at the same time give ourselves permission to excel.Eloise Ristad
Failure is difficult. It’s fairly easy for us to give ourselves permission to fail, but what about our employers? Our families? The people we supervise at work? All of these people may have something to say about our failures, especially if they’re strongly affected by them. It’s great to say that we give ourselves permission to fail, but there always may be fallout from our failure.
Nonetheless, it is quite liberating to be able to tell ourselves that failure isn’t the worst thing in the world, and that we can go ahead and fail without our lives falling apart. The expectation to succeed at every single thing we do is unrealistic at best, and that expectation can hang over us like a cloud, turning our days into living hells until we actually have succeeded. Sometimes things don’t work out as we hope they will, and if we’re still holding on to the expectation of success, we can make ourselves miserable when they don’t.
All of Edison’s “failures” when he was trying to create the light bulb, he said, were just so many things that he learned didn’t work, so he could strike them off his list of possibilities. Many “failed” experiments have turned into important discoveries in other areas because the people doing the experiments kept their eyes and minds open when the results didn’t show exactly what they expected.
You’re going to fail at something. So am I, and so are our kids. That’s okay. Failure is the door to wisdom, and failure often is the doorway to successes that we couldn’t even have imagined. The important thing is how you treat yourself when you do fail–if you give yourself permission to fail, then you’ll treat yourself with the respect that you deserve for having tried something new and different, no matter what the result.
Questions to ponder:
1. Do you give yourself permission to fail? At what? How often?
2. Why does failure seem so drastic to most of us so much of the time?
3. How can giving ourselves permission to fail be giving ourselves permission to excel at the same time?
For further thought:
Life’s lessons come through failures probably more than successes. Through our failures we learn humility. We learn to look to others for help and guidance. We learn how to let others fail, too. We fail because we are human. When we no longer fear failure, we are free to attempt greater feats. We dare to learn more, and life is fuller for it–not just our own lives, but the lives that we touch.
Credit: Living Life Fully