Nothing Ventured: Not Trying is a Guaranteed Failure

Is there something you have always wanted to try but can never seem to get around to doing? Perhaps you’re avoiding switching careers, going back to school, trying out a group class at the gym, or joining a social club you’ve had your eye on? What excuses have you used to make yourself feel better about not putting yourself out there? I bet they all go back to a common theme: if you tried, you’d surely fail!

George Washington Carver said that “Ninety-nine percent of the failures come from people who have the habit of making excuses.” This quote could not be truer: the only guaranteed way to fail at something is to never even try.

In my previous post, I talked about the different types of excuses we make to avoid doing something we desire but are afraid of failing at—self-descriptions such as not being smart enough or attractive enough and emotional justifications such as being too busy or stressed are the main types that apply here.

This habit is damaging to your soul, as it prevents you from growing and learning as you are meant to do. If you recognize yourself in this post, it is important to take a moment to think back on all the reasons you’ve provided for not getting out there and pursuing what you want in life.

I think one of the biggest initial hurdles we must all clear is the fear of failure–it is a natural part of the path to success, and necessary for growth! Where would we be as a society if our most brilliant minds had given up when their first experiment failed? Indeed, there are stories of failure in the pasts of so many of our culture’s public figures, so why should you be any different? The key to facing failure with grace is to learn from it, shift your approach, and try again.

Think back to a time when you failed at something in your past and gave up. What did you do? How did you feel? Now think of a time when you failed and kept trying until you succeeded. That final success probably felt all the sweeter given the hardship you endured to achieve your goal, didn’t it?

I encourage you to try something you’ve been afraid of failing at this week! Sign up for that figure drawing or dance class. Go and talk to that classmate you’ve spotted playing Frisbee in the park and ask if you can join. Sing a song at karaoke! If you start with small things that have little to no consequences, by the time you work your way up to the bigger fears, hopefully the possibility of failure won’t seem so devastating.