Like most high achievers I have battled with failure and have fought self-limiting beliefs. I have studied NLP and considered dozens of theories of why some of us can face the daily battles of life with a smile and a laugh and why others need to struggle more.
As a business consultant, sales recruiter and speaker I connect with people everyday whose fear of failure holds them back. This affects careers, businesses and relationships. In the end, it is our fears that create failure. The biggest hurdle for most of us is not the work or skill to become successful but simply accepting that we are able to become successful at all. We lack the confidence, self-esteem and self-love to expect success and our doubts create failure.
I believe that most approaches to failure over complicate what is really a very simple problem.
I believe that we fail for one very simple reason – we choose to fail!
Before I explain my position let’s get on the same page about a few things.
I believe that as humans we all have free will and the ability to decide how we feel about anything that is happening directly or indirectly to us. In other words, reality is perception and how we perceive our world determines our reality.
I believe that if we have fully participated in an activity and enjoyed ourselves then we have succeeded. I am not talking about winning and failing in absolute terms but winning or failing in our ability to effectively participate in life.
I believe that if you are able to take on any challenge that interests you then you are a winner.
I believe that if you walk away from opportunities, avoid challenges, and do not try because of some fear then you are a failure – you have failed!
So, to restate my position I believe that people fail because they choose to fail. Failure is an opportunity available to all of us and some of us choose it and some reject it.
Why do we choose failure?
The short answer is that when we choose failure we do not love ourselves, which is really about self-esteem. We are not born wanting failure we learn to be this way.
I believe that we are all born as innocent humans with everything we need to succeed. Look at small children play. They run and fall, they sing and dance, they will respond to all stimulus positively and joyfully. Children equally learn English, Chinese or Russian depending on where they live. Toss a new born into water and they can swim.
We are not born to fail. We are born to live and to succeed. We choose to fail because we believe we are not worthy to succeed!
We actually learn to fail! We learn to choose failure. I believe that when we are born we love ourselves, and the world around us, but that we learn over time that we are not worthy of love (even from ourselves). The result is that we doubt our abilities and develop a fear of challenge – we learn to believe ourselves as failures and so we fail. We choose failure!
What is the answer?
Well, it could be a lifetime of analysis or a fortune in self-improvement courses or we could simply choose to love ourselves as children do. When we do this our self-esteem soars and then fear disappears – challenges become simply fun.
Try a little experiment. Think of a challenge that frightens you – got it?
Now put that fear aside and think of a parent holding a newborn child. Imagine all of the perfect love – the circle of love – the parent for the child and the child for the parent. No judgments or expectations just pure love. Got that feeling of love and perfection? Now imagine that you are both the parent and the child – that is the feeling of self-love!
Powerful isn’t it? Hang on to the feeling for just a few minutes longer and go back to the challenge that frightens you. Is your feeling different? Even just for a second?
Learn to love yourself in this pure and uncomplicated way and you will learn to succeed. It takes practice as our negative habits run deep but you can learn to love yourself and embrace every challenge without fear.
Once we accept ourselves then we can simply enjoy life without the backing away from goals and ideas. Once we love and accept ourselves then we will also begin to love and accept those around us – life becomes better!
Is it worth a shot? I hope it is, after all, you’re really are a winner!