Your fear of failure is holding you back.
We’re hard-wired to seek success AND stay safe. But taking the safe route is going to lead to an unfulfilling life, I can promise you that.
Go to college, get a job. Work through your best years so you can retire when you’re old. Then you can “enjoy” your pension after your body can’t keep up with your passions.
Sounds like a great plan, huh?
No, fuck the safe route.
This is your brain on evolution
The human brain is still hardwired for a life of hunting and gathering. You conserve energy when you can so you can spend energy when it’s appropriate. You avoid risky situations so you can be able-bodied enough to gather food for your family. Fight, flight, or rest.
And that wiring is hard to defeat, even though you can access your basic needs in any developed country. Being able to survive is easy with access to clean water, electricity, and supermarkets. All it takes is a day job. But we’re still scared to take chances.
This fear of risk and failure gets reinforced by public schools and grading systems. An “F” means you’re a failure. But getting an F doesn’t mean death, just shame. Failing could generate enough shame to cast us from the tribe. Living without a tribe means we may not get the support we need to survive… But who’s going to banish you in today’s society for a failing grade? A whole bunch of nobody, that’s who.
But what about the parents who want their kids to pursue safe careers? Get a job with good pay and a good retirement. Go to school and work to pay it off for the rest of your life. That sounds like a dream come true, doesn’t it Dr. Smith?
Nope. Society is a bitch, and that bitch wants you to go into debt.
Don’t be a bitch to society.
Taking chances might lead to failure, but failure isn’t always a bad thing. If your basic needs are met, failure can be amazing.
Because you learn from failure. Let me be clear – learning from failure doesn’t mean seeking failure. Of course, you want to succeed when you take a risk, but that doesn’t mean you will. Actually, if you’re trying enough THINGS, the odds are definitely stacked against you. You’re more than likely going to fail at several things before something works.
Accept that you will almost definitely fail, but don’t go seeking it out.
Do what you can to learn from failures and understand that you might not learn the RIGHT thing from failures. You could think that you failed because of reasons A, B, and C, but it was actually reason F that you failed. It doesn’t matter.
As long as you’re trying to learn everything you can from every success and every failure, you’ll be well ahead of the pack.
But, if you don’t take any chances at all, you won’t learn anything.
My kid gets hurt.
I’m fortunate that I was raised in an environment where I was encouraged to try new things. That made it easy for me to get back out of the rat race when I’d gotten fed up with it.
Oh, yeah, I still fell into the trap, for sure. My grandparents may have supported my curiosity, but school and culture didn’t. I still went to college, racked up debt, started a “safe” business, racked up more debt for a lifestyle, then watched it all crumble around me.
And that’s when I decided to draw on people for a living. Best decision ever.
Now, I’m doing what I can to make sure my son doesn’t fall into the same trap. I let him explore EVERYTHING. As long as he isn’t about to get killed while playing with an outlet or running into traffic, I let him be curious.
He gets bruised, he’s probably going to have a broken bone before too long, he gets scratched when the animals have had enough, he falls down, gets hurt, and gets back up.
My son is growing into an independent little kid who is curious about everything and learns at a breakneck pace. I couldn’t be more proud of him for trying everything he can think of.
If you want something different…
If you want something different out of your life, you have to do different things. Makes sense, right? If you keep doing the same things and you expect different results, you’ll end up getting super-duper disappointed.
Take a long, hard look at what you’d like to do with your life. What are your dreams? Turn those dreams into goals and take some chances. If you fail, try to figure out why. If you fail again, keep trying to learn what you can. Eventually, you might succeed when everyone thought you wouldn’t.