On Not Being Afraid To Fail

As I said in the first baby step post, this month, I want to highlight 31 ways to baby step your way into a more mindful and healthful life.  Some of the tips will be advice already stated or implied in previous posts, while some will be brand new.  This post provides the seventh and an explanation.  The idea is to start at the beginning and accumulate as many mindful and healthful habits as you'd like to sustain by the conclusion of the month.  It's similar to that icebreaker where you're in a circle of people and you need to repeat all of the members' names in order... it's a challenge, but you'll feel great at making progress and it'll help you see how far you've come from the 1st to the 31st!

this photo was taken the day of my first paper presented at a national conference
in October 2014

Baby Step # 7
Don't be afraid to fail.

Out of everything you learn about life, success, happiness, and "being an adult" while you're young, one thing you're introduced to is the idea of failure.  Before you've been made aware of this concept, you are a fearless, confident, and happy. 

As we've discussed, we all have goals and aspirations, but sometimes they can be intimidating, even for us.  Deciding what you want, establishing goals, and setting yourself up for success are all important in achieving success (see baby steps #1-6), but beyond that, being tough enough to try, despite the possibility of failure, is essential.

In terms of what researchers have found, Angela Lee Duckworth claims the key to success is grit.  Check out this TED Talk.  In it, she says, "We have to be willing to fail, to be wrong, to start over again with lessons learned."

If you need more motivation to take on tough personal challenges, check out this "Fail Harder" video (Basketball Motivation) on YouTube.

And, if you are a reader, I highly recommend this next resource.  I am currently reading (and LOVING) a book called The Art of Learning.  In it, the author and former chess champion of the world, Josh Waitzkin, discusses his philosophy of learning, success, and facing challenges.  Though the book discusses both his chess and Tai Chi careers, using examples from each, it inspires deep thought and reflection about your own learning process and road to success.  He tells about the failures and challenges he faced while learning Tai Chi and how he used them to gain skill, strength, stamina, and success.  I haven't even finished yet, but I know it's worth recommending.

The key is to allow yourself the freedom to fail in order to be on the path to success.  The ancients said it in other terms: "Fortune favors the Bold."  And like I reminded my students the first day of school each year, Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm."

What is a challenge you have taken on with a fearless mind and heart?

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