A little over 4 years ago I made a decision to leave the life I knew in Austin and move to New York. Many people thought I was nuts to move at such a time. The industry I work in was going through tremendous change and many colleagues were losing their jobs. We had just merged with another bank, and there was no guarantee that more layoffs were not coming. I had just built and moved into a new house and finally got everything like I wanted. I had lived in Austin for over 20 years and built up a strong network of friends and family. However, it was not a hard a decision for me to make. I had always wanted to live in New York, so when the opportunity came along I couldn’t pass it up. Was I worried I may move and six months later be unemployed? Sure, but if I had not moved I could still be unemployed and without the experience of living in New York even for just six months. Sometimes you just have to have to take a risk knowing that if it doesn’t work out, everything will be fine. In other words, you have to have the courage to fail.
We are taught that it is good to take risks but that failure is bad. Consider this, when something doesn’t work do you spend more time trying to figure out where it went wrong and who to blame or what worked and what can you learn from it? I am not suggesting we ignore what went wrong, but rather understand and learn from it. We focus so much attention on why and who that we are not able to overcome the fear to even try. Having the courage to fail is not just being able to take a risk, knowing you may fall flat on your face. It is choosing to learn from your mistakes and in the long run being better off for it. It is also having the courage to try and try again.
No one has ever learned anything new by doing the same thing they have always done. You have to be brave enough to forge a new path, knowing it may not be the right one. The most successful people in the world are not necessarily smarter than you or me, but rather they have the courage to fail. They ultimately succeed because they do not view failure as something bad. Instead it is viewed as an opportunity to learn and try again. I once read that, being afraid to do something is what makes doing it worthwhile. It does not matter if you are a freshman in college or a rookie at your first job. You are going to have to take a risk at some point and chances are you will fail. There is nothing wrong with this, we all make mistakes. However, choosing to learn from those mistakes and moving on will make you a better person in the long run. Choosing to not at least try may feel safer, but what did you learn from doing nothing? And what is worthwhile about that?