The fear of failure is the #1 reason most people never reach new heights in their personal and professional lives. Perhaps people feel that too much could be lost if they try something different or get out of their comfort zone. The truth is, nothing is lost considering you never had what you were looking for in the first place.
Think logically about a very simple example for a minute.
Going on a blind date. The cost is the initial discomfort, being nervous and possibly being bored for a few hours at dinner. The benefit is meeting someone new, overcoming a fear, enjoying a new restaurant, and potentially building a new relationship. Why focus on the cost of the initial 30 minutes when you could focus on the possibility of a new friend.
And so what, he never calls again. Who cares?! You overcame your fear of going on a blind date, you learned about his random career that you never knew existed before, you tried duck for the first time and realized you had a mutual friend from college who you end up re-connecting with. It sounds to me like you gained something rather than lost it.
But then again, that’s all up to you and your perspective.
Plug in any relevant scenario here: Getting a D on a huge exam (been there more than once), being deceived by someone you love (experienced it) or having a less than stellar performance review at work (umm guilty).
When I was in college, my best friend Katie and I had this funny little thing we would do when we were at our favorite bar Brick Street (which now has 90’s night-how bizarre) our senior year at Miami. We would meet new guys, chat with them for a few minutes or maybe even dance to a song or two, then give each other the signal: “Next!” We would take a break for a minute, then move on to mingle with new people. If we weren’t impressed (or if they weren’t impressed with us) we would just laugh and shout “Next!” and move on without taking anything personally or thinking twice about it.
I must say, Katie and I still apply “The ‘Next!’ Principle” to our lives today. We’ve both had jobs that didn’t work out and dated guys that didn’t work out. We never sat and sulked in what happened or viewed our decisions as mistakes. We just said “Next!” and moved on to the next adventure.
In order to apply The “Next” Principle, you must be willing to take responsibility for yourself. This means no blaming, no complaining and no trying to change others. You also must view failure as a huge opportunity. If people say your idea stinks, think “wow, I must be on to something!” If a prospect says no, consider it a maybe.
Understand that failure is a huge illusion created to hold people back. This is probably why there is only a small percentage of really successful people: those are the people who were able to take risks to reach greater heights.
Katie decided not to go to medical school after spending 4 years studying her butt off in pre-med. She could’ve sulked about the money and time that was spent on her pre-med education. Instead, she picked herself up moved to Chicago and started a new career path for herself without looking back. She is now a Registered Investment Advisor who owns her own successful company. Yes, she deals with the stock market and manages a growing portfolio even in a turbulent economy. I too decided to start my own business at age 24 while working full time when several people told me I am way too young and inexperienced and could never pull it off. Here I am.
If Katie and I let our fear of failure get in the way, I highly doubt we would be dating great men, loving our careers, and living in Chicago.
So when the going gets tough, just say “Next!” and leave the past behind. Life will always present you with new obstacles along with plenty of rejection and disappointment, but it is all how you choose to move on from those situations that will determine your outcome.