Falling Short of Failure

TAGS: success Falling Short of Failure, bollywood, iron game, fear of failing, Falling Short of Failure, failure, Alexander Cortes

Fail, fail, and fail some more…

Since mid-July, I've been living and traveling in India with one of my personal training clients. This individual works in the Indian film industry (popularly known as Bollywood) and is considered a major star here. My client and I are good friends, and we’ve had some great conversations while on this trip. Recently, he and I shared a very poignant conversation on fear and it resulted in this article.

“How far are you willing to fail at something?"

Failure is one of those singular life experiences that most everyone tries to avoid but is guaranteed to experience. As such, it tends to be the number one source of fear that inhibits people from taking risks.

However, beyond the inhibition, there is something else, something deeper. People are not just afraid of “failing” but of taking the actions that would move them toward that point. Because of this, many people don’t ever truly fail at anything. They stop short before the point of crashing and burning. In fact, they stop short of really going all in.

They stop short of stepping on stage, getting on the platform, or trying to make a business work. They stop and retreat back to wherever they were. And all their supposed actions really don’t amount to anything because their end position is static. They see the potential for something not going their way, and they bow out in cowardice.

I once said that if you're going to fail, fail forward. But I realize that I missed something key and that is that you must commit to failing in the first place. Why is this? Because if you don’t and you stop yourself short, you've just set a limit as to how far you're willing to go. You stop short of utter failure. You avoid your own responsibility to your actions. You just lied to yourself about your true intentions.

“I will see this to the end.” But you didn’t do that. You pulled out because things got uncomfortable, and now you're back where you started. And that’s your limit then. That's your threshold of your fear overcoming your desires, and for every risk that you take after, that threshold will get closer and closer to inaction.

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There will be that day when your only action is inaction, and you are the person talking about all the reasons why you can't do something before you have done anything to begin with. This mental state infects everything else. It infects productivity, and it infects motivation. It turns potential into a wasted gift.

It's paralysis by fear, and it makes for a very unfulfilled life.

There isn't any pride to be had in what you didn’t do and didn’t learn. There aren't any great lessons that come from the avoidance of being hurt. There isn't anything in this.

Great success does not come without sacrifice or commitment. It doesn’t come because a situation was utterly comfortable.

How many people in powerlifting, bodybuilding, or weightlifting have flamed out after a year or two of showing so much potential, when the price of pushing beyond their natural gifts exceeded their desire for success? They get a big total, win a big show, and are never to be heard from again.

Everyone has that point in dedication when your drive to improve starts to falter against the comforts of you current abilities. Maybe it’s the business you want to start or maybe it's quitting your job and going solo. Maybe it’s a promotion. Maybe it's even uprooting your whole life to go live somewhere else that will push you past a limit.

And with this comes fear. And a chance that things could utterly blow up in your face. You could be left lonely, destitute, miserable, and scrambling.

To hell with that fear. Success is built upon a stack of failures, years worth, and don’t believe it if anyone says otherwise. Do you want to grow beyond what you are now? Stop trying to predict the future. Embrace being hurt. You didn’t get hurt in a situation. You haven't had any potential to grow. Never has it been said that comfort breeds toughness.

Looking backward on where we are is what gives perspective to look ahead. So to hell with limits. Push past the threshold and fail forward. It will be worth it. I promise.

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