Learn to fail, don't fail to learn

These days, the world is quite a hectic place to live in. We’re constantly given more tasks, facing new challenges and expected to do more with less. The pressure is strong and expectations are high. I think all of us have been there, doubting ourselves: what if I can’t do this?

And that’s where it all goes wrong. The second we start doubting ourselves, we start building a foundation for failure. When we create a picture of a negative outcome in our minds, we have actually just taken the first step towards it. Human mind is a powerful tool, so it must be used wisely. Intentionally. Fearlessly.

Ultimately, it is not our failures, but the fear inside us that destroys the potential for success.  The fear that makes us so scared we don’t even try. That fear blurs our vision, makes us feel insecure and question our own abilities. Whenever you’re doubting yourself, I want you to ask yourself: what’s the worst that could happen? I dare to claim that in virtually all the possible scenarios, the world is not going to end. Your life is not going to end. Really, it is not that serious – you just have to find the courage to take the jump and see what happens. Yeah, you might not end up where you planned, you might not achieve exactly what you planned, but the thing is: you learn.  And you’ll get somewhere, that’s for sure. Sometimes, when things don’t go as planned, they actually take you towards new opportunities that may eventually turn out to be even better than the original plan.

“Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.”                                                          – Oscar Wilde

But still, quite often, failure scares us. And the more we think about it, the bigger it grows in our minds, eventually creating a shadow over us. A shadow of discourage and insecurity. Success may sometimes seem unattainable or distant, but if we think about it that way, we have missed something crucial: this world is full of opportunities. Chances to be taken, ideas to be developed, choices to be made. Possibilities are endless. On the other hand, there is only one certain way to ultimate failure – and that is, to give up trying. Success is a product of many things, but the main ingredients are hard work and perseverance. Nobody is a master the second they start, and that is why practice is needed. Failure is needed. Failure makes learning possible.

“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.”                                                           – Thomas Edison

Success is attainable for all of us, but it doesn’t come without work. In order to learn, we must go beyond our comfort zone. Beyond our fear of failure. Great things never come from comfort zones. We must have the courage to go outside of it – even if we don’t know what there is. We must learn to enjoy the free fall, take all that comes and embrace the hell out of every situation – even the so-called failures.

In the end, this is your own choice. It is all up to you. But I recommend: let yourself fall free. Allow yourself to fail. Once you allow yourself to fail, you also allow yourself to succeed.

Are you willing to take the jump?


Text written by Emmi Vilkanen, a TEDxOtaniemi volunteer