Freedom and Failure
A significant barrier to our freedom and personal growth, is our inherent and compulsive fear of failure. As children we are accustomed to failure. We’re desensitized to looking silly or coming in last because so much of what we do is completely new to us. This gives us the ability to fearlessly approach diverse experiences, and is perhaps why we feel that we have so much opportunity when we're young. As we age, this ability decreases – out of choice, rather than necessity. We determine what we’re good at, then selectively pursue those activities.
We forget what it feels like to fail, until we reach the point where even the idea of failure feels deeply disturbing.
We then begin to shy away from new experiences to avoid trauma. By adulthood, we too often see fear and embarrassment as out of the question, removing all options outside our established comfort zones. With this mentality, it’s no wonder we feel as though our opportunities have become limited. We’ve fallen into our own trap, which will continue to close around us until we decide to reopen it. Even child psychologist have moved away from telling children they are the best, in lieu of commending their hard work and persistence. Adults must also encourage themselves in this way.
Rather than focusing on the end goal of success, we can strive to realize a path of growth and learning despite the inevitable existence of intermittent failure. In a sense, failure is the action that we must do, repetitively and persistently, to achieve success.
When we become unable to fail, we become limited to the things we’ve already had the courage to fail at earlier in our lives.
We should, of course, always appreciate our accomplishments and feel satisfied by our hard work. Failing to do this leads us to feel demoralized and unaccomplished, feeding our underlying insecurities. However, we must not let this sense of accomplishment eclipse our desire to improve.