If you spend any time in the self-help aisle of the internet you may have tripped across the meme of the moment – failure. Every management guru, entrepreneur and life coach can’t stop advocating for failure as the key to success.
The problem – I’ve discovered – is being able to tell the difference between failure and success… and knowing how much failure you need to endure before switching course.
The stories that many of these successful people tell has a consistent trope – “I tried this and it failed, I tried that and it failed, and then at my lowest point I decided to do x and it was a huge success.” We all know these stories – but what if success (and failure) are subtle? Rarely in life are we presented with the clear sign posts, the absolute fork in the road where we must choose. Too often, life is a very easy trap – so easy we don’t even realize we are in it for a long time. The habits we form, our daily routines, our belief systems, are based on the limits of the easy trap we live in daily.
So what do we do? We keep going. One thing about life is that it keeps going – until it stops. We can choose the manner of our progress, if not the progress itself. This is where courage comes in. To move forward in a way that destroys the trap is to move forward into the unknown – and doing that requires courage. Courage to face the unknown, courage to believe in yourself, courage to follow your heart. It helps to be smart, it helps to make wise decisions, but I think in all this discussion of the benefits of failure we aren’t talking enough about the benefits of courage.
Be brave. Fail, succeed, progress. Do no harm. Create opportunity for those around you. Keep learning. Decide to live with courage in your heart.