Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Can Failure Be Avoided?

Of late I've been freaking out. I'm scared to death my book is going to sink, people are going to laugh at me and I'll have to slink away to hide in the shadows of the blogosphere. I also am afraid I'm not going to be able to write a decent follow up book to Finding Meara.
Photo Courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

In other words, I'm scared I'm going to fail.

"Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out." Benjamin Franklin

Thanks, Ben. Part of me seized when I read this quote. Does he mean me, right now? Am I going to know failure? But then I caught on to how freeing it can be to embrace failure. Sure, we'll all know failure at some time, which means we might as well get on with it all. If we fail, we just do something different next time. No biggie.

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill

Excellent point, Winston. Even if we do succeed once, there is no guarantee that we won't ever fail again. And no one is going to take away our respective birthdays if we do fail. In the grand scheme of things, at least for me, the stakes of writing aren't all that high. My ego is at risk, but that's about all.

"Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure." Confucius

The courage to continue on and keep moving forward becomes the previous preparation Confucius is talking about. We get better, we learn new things and can try different methods to accomplish that for which we are working so hard.

So I guess the answer is no, the option of failure can not be avoided.  But we need to be courageous and try, anyway. Otherwise, it's guaranteed we will never experience success.

How do you handle the fear of failure?

14 comments:

  1. I really feel like there is no learning or success without failure first. It's that whole Yin Yang balance thing. Don't like failing, but it does seem to be how I learn best unfortunately. :)

    And I'm sure your book will not fail. The only failure on that front would be to give up, and I don't think you'll do that.

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    1. Thanks, L.G. A funny quote I read from Charlie Sheen while I was finding the quotes I used said something like "No one teaches you how to succeed. They say try and try again, but what do you do if you succeed the first time." While most of us won't have that problem, I thought it was a good question. What if that balance gets turned on it's head by success? It was kind of an insight into all the problems he's had, for sure!

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  2. I love your insight re: no one will take away our respective birthdays if we fail-- lol. These were all great quotes, and I would add that any misfire is an opportunity to learn & grow. The only true failure is giving up before we try.

    You are doing everything right on your chosen road. The research you have put in is paying off-- the cover contest was so much fun! No worries-- it's all going to be awesome. I'm a big fan of deep breaths, so enjoy the thrill of anticipation and breathe. <3

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    1. Thanks, Denise. I loved the quotes. They just fell together into a post. I really needed to figure out the "don't do nothing, do something, even if it's wrong." I'm hoping that will stick with me for a while. I'll try to remember it while I'm deep breathing!

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  3. Do something, I like that! I'm very afraid of failing, too. But, I'm also a fan of not giving up! I guess you might call it stubborn!

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    1. Stubbornness can take us places, I believe!

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  4. I've tried lots of fun stuff in 2012, but haven't submitted my stuff. 2013 will be full of submission goals. That's a funny Sheen comment too.

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    1. Lots of good luck for you in 2013! Yes, I thought the Sheen quote was a unique perspective. :)

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  5. Huge failures are scary (like when you jump out of an airplane and forget the parachute), but most stuff is "small stuff." A blog goes boing. Ah well. A post on FB has an echo. Too bad. Book failures - I haven't gotten there yet, so I'll let you know! :) I have learned from failures - sometimes I have to experience them more than once to get it. Pick myself up, dust myself off... Most of my worry comes from what might happen, and mostly never does happen.

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    1. "Most of my worry comes from what might happen, and mostly never does happen." Exactly!! I have always wasted way too much time worrying.

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  6. Deep down, I often feel like a failure in so many things I've done i my life. But I also realize you don't accomplish anything if you don't keep trying. So, I bite the bullet and keep trudging on. I've had people in the writing industry completely ignore me and my work, I've had reviewers rip my stuff to pieces, and with each book I write, I fear I've lost "it," if I ever even had "it." I have to keep most of this to myself because non-writer family and friends don't understand, and it sounds selfish and whiney to try. And I'm always one step away from throwing in the towel as a writer. If possible, I try to look at the difficult parts of writing as though they're happening to someone else and I stand out to the side of myself and try to cheer myself on, no matter what. Crazy, huh?

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    1. No, I don't think it's crazy to step outside yourself. Sometimes that's what it takes be objective about what's happening. And I know what you mean about feeling whiny - I had issues with myself about sharing this blog post for the very same reason. I don't want to be all wimpy, but I also am still freaking out!

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  7. Failure is notoriously scary. But, to me "What if" is the anti-failure. What if I hadn't submitted those pages? What if I hadn't pitched my book? What if I hadn't kept pushing, kept trying? I don't have GPS directions to Success, so I'll never know how close I am until it happens. One quote from Iyanla Vanzant that keeps me from giving up is "Don't give up five minutes before the miracle." www.crystal-blake.blogspot.com

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    1. Very thoughtful comment! Thanks for taking the time to stop and say hi and share such good ideas. I totally hate the What If's - but I like how (as you point out) they can be used for good, and not just evil! And I really love your quote. It's so true that we just don't know when or what will turn things in our favor.

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