Failure is a scary word. At least it scares you. There’s another word in there, you see it too don’t you?
Fear and failure. Two words coming from the same place.
You don’t like that.
Have you ever wondered why you’re afraid? Have you ever stopped to consider what it is about that word that fills you with dread?
Obviously, it’s not the word itself it’s everything that the word entails.
Have you considered what the word entails? Take a moment as you read this and give some thought to the word failure.
Failure, to fail. Not succeeding. Not accomplishing what you set out to do. Having to make another attempt. At least that’s what you knew it used to mean.
Something’s happened to you over the years. You use to love failing. You would wear failure as a badge of honour. There was a degree of pride whenever you would list off everything that you did not manage to achieve.
What happened to you?
You stopped failing. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not a good thing. Not only do you not have any failures, you have no successes either.
How does that make you feel?
How do you want to feel?
It’s up to you in the end. Be honest though, not with me, yourself. At the end of the day, the only opinion that matters is your own.
What do you think of yourself?
You’ve become safe. Risk-averse, you’re not failing right now but let’s put it this way. You’re not setting the world on fire.
What makes you worry so much about failure? Is it what other people are going to think. Be honest with yourself. Other people’s opinions don’t bother you as much as you let on. If they did, you wouldn’t be writing this in the first place. You’re using what other people think as a crutch.
You don’t even respect these people. Address the elephant in the room. They are shambling through life in a similar vein to you. The only difference is that they are doing so regardless of whether you like it or not. You, on the other hand, are living a life that they could not care less about. These people might tut and wag their finger at you but they can’t stop you.
Only you can hold yourself back.
You used to love failing, you would wear your failures as a badge of honour.
You failed at singing yet you recorded an album. The album was good.
You didn’t know how to make a film. Yet fear of failure didn’t stop you from making one.
The point I’m trying to make is this. When you prepared to fail, it turns out that you didn’t fail as much as you thought you would. In fact you did much better than you had any right.
Did everything go perfectly? No, but it wasn’t a car crash. It wasn’t the end of the world, and things went better than expected.
Let me tell you a story about failure.
William Shakespeare: Failure
You read that right I’m going to stick it to the bard.
Think about William Shakespeare. Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing right now, stop. Look up from reading this and visualise his face. Now besides his face, without looking it up online, imagine the names of as many of his plays as you can.
Say them out loud. Take a minute. Set the timer and all that. Write them down. Do whatever you want. There’s a larger point being made here.
How many did you come up with?
You came up with all the big hitters, didn’t you? Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Hamlet, King Lear, Julius Caesar, Othello. There are loads that you came up with, didn’t you?
Now, be honest with me. Did you mention, A Comedy of Errors, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Measure for Measure, Timon of Athens?
If you did, congratulations you’re a nerd.
William Shakespeare is one of the greatest playwrights in the English language. Even his body of work abides by the 80: 20 rule.
You know the 80:20 rule. The rule suggests that 20% of your activities will account for 80% of your results.
What a wonderful thought.
You’re probably thinking, what the hell does Shakespeare have to do with all this.
Look at it this way.
Even if you’re the best playwright, 80% of your work will be forgotten.
Failure is the norm, even for the best of us. If Shakespeare only has 20% of his work still relevant what chance do you have?
Here’s the thing William Shakespeare kept on writing.
He was consistent.
Sometimes he failed.
Sometimes he did not.
If anything failure is a success all on its own.
Failure is a choice
The only way to get over failure is to get stuck into it whenever you can.
Avoiding failure has meant that you avoid success. You’re stuck in the worst of all worlds. Inaction, staying still and trying to convince the world that you are a statue when you’re not.
You have to move forward, and you have to get back into that consistency.
If you fail consistently eventually you’ll fail at failing.
Does that make sense? Probably not.
You have spent so long trying to fail at the things that you don’t like. Don’t you think that it is time to start failing at what you do like?
What you’re going to do is this. You’re going to take failure as a given.
Whatever it is that you intend on doing this year, assume that it’s going to go horribly.
Up in flames, kicked out of town and all that.
You do get to have fun with it. You know the ship is sinking so raid the bar.
Pick what you want to fail at this year.
You can pick whatever it is that you want to do just make sure that you do it and that you fail at it.
A short list of what to fail at in 2019
- In 2019 I want to be a failure at staging a play.
- I want to fail at learning an instrument.
- I’d love to fail at writing another script.
- There’s a book or two that I want to balls up. Publish an unreadable mess
- Mental Deficiency has a few more gigs coming up, do you think that I could fail at recording another album?
I’m sure that there is much more that I’m going to fail at.
I want to fail big.
I’m going to fail big.
You better join me in being a failure because when you and I do it, it will be spectacular.
You never know, you might not fail as much as you think.
Here’s to 2019, the year of failure.