Hmm, how do you know? I hear people say this phrase a lot, especially as it relates to their goals, health, finances and careers. And I don’t necessarily mean the people who may say this because they have actually tried a similar thing and have a REASON for believing it won’t work; I mean the ones who say it won’t before even trying. Those are the dangerous scenarios and the ones that can set an otherwise capable person up for failure.
Fear of failure can be an insidious thing and can cause serious repercussions in a person’s life. Imagine if, all the way back in the late 80’s when my health was waning and there was a very real possibility that side effects of Type-1 Diabetes would end my young life, that I had looked at karate and said, “Mmm, that won’t work…” There’s a very real chance I wouldn’t be writing this post, right now, as I would be dead.
It’s right on par with my parents, who spoke almost those exact words when I finally revealed I was studying karate, despite the fact I had been doing it for a few years at that point and my health had improved ten-fold. I’ve often had students who have had this unfortunate belief, where they’d walk into the dojo and start training but as they saw what would eventually be expected of them, chose to give up rather than try and make something work.
The important thing to remember is that nothing is impossible. Does that mean that YOU will necessarily be capable of it? Maybe not. But there’s a big difference between something being impossible and something being beyond your capabilities. The key is recognizing that difference. And there’s nothing stopping you from actually trying to. Remember, there’s a huge, HUGE difference between “failing” and “being a failure.”
Failing at something means you tried. It means lessons have been learned, important lessons, that you can carry forward into the next thing you do or try. And although something may be out of your range or capabilities, this doesn’t make it impossible. It simply means you may have to examine other options. As the old saying goes, you’re not a failure unless you fail to try.
One of my favourite quotes, ironically, doesn’t come from a philosopher or teacher, not one of my instructors or a literary source (technically). No, one of my all-time favourite quotes about failure is from the character of Captain Jean-Luc Picard from Star Trek, The Next Generation. In a certain episode, he says, “It is possible to commit no mistake and still lose. That is not a weakness; that is life.” Important words from the most unexpected source. ☯️