In Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art, he speaks of the dreaded R we didn’t learn in school with Reading, Writing and Arithmetic.
It’s the word responsible for more failed dreams than anything else. It’s unfinished projects, unsuccessful diets, and unfulfilled dreams. It’s the fear inside that said, “Well last time I failed at that. I’m never going to do that again!”
It’s what’s keeping us all hidden, scared, and silenced.
It’s the reason why we place so much meaning, value and importance on feedback. We’re afraid of the shame that comes from failing, the unworthiness factor, the belief tucked under that asks, “Am I good enough?”
What helped me recently is reading this Real Simple quote:
“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett
You mean to tell me that I can fail again. That the goal to success is to not avoid failure, but to fail better?
That’s what I thought too.
When I realized I didn’t have to tip-toe through the minefield of failure because if I’m growing, it will always be present, life seemed a lot less overwhelming.
The key isn’t to figure out how to never fail again. The key is to fail more efficiently.
What does that mean?
Instead of getting 10 rejections, shoot for 5. Instead of a complete overhaul of your copy, focus on getting feedback to edit a few sentences.
This may sound like shooting for the grass instead of the trees or the clouds instead of the moon. But if you continue on the path of 1 step forward, 2 steps backwards, you will eventually get there. If you approach a dream with the belief that you have to succeed flawlessly, you’re more likely to get overwhelmed and give up.
So that’s my motto these days.