Oh, failure. The big ‘F word.’ The downfall; the third strike, you’re out; the moment you realize, “Yup, that definitely didn’t work.” We’ve all had a failure (or like, 3,000 of them). Some of us have even been able to deem them ‘epic’ fails. But as negative as failure may seem, is it really as bad as we are made to believe?
Failure can be a tough topic to talk about because when we fail, that little voice in our head gets on its soap box and starts its monologue: “You’re not good enough!” “How embarrassing!” “May as well give up now, kid.” “Never doing that again.” Although we may want to run away as fast as possible when we fail, our Leaders have shown us that sticking it out can build character and strength in knowing that we can pick ourselves up, and keep on going.
Instead of beating yourself up, think of it this way: If you fail, it means that you’ve tried. There were a few times that I remember falling on my arse (not always so gracefully) as a ballet dancer in Houston, and sometimes in front of thousands of people. But I always got right back up and just kept dancing like nothing happened, seemingly unfazed. Failure is just part of life. I realized this after failure started happening, what seemed like all the time. When I didn’t get that “perfect” job I applied for, or when I was not chosen to receive a scholarship at school that I was convinced that I was the perfect candidate for.
The truth is, we are all going to fail, at one stage or another. So instead of focusing on the failure, why not learn from it? Get used to failing! See it as an exercise in improvisation, self-improvement, and research for the next big attempt. Film director and Roadtrip Nation Leader Craig Brewer says you have to be cool with the fact that you are going to fail repeatedly. Yes, you are going to fall down—and sometimes you’re going fall down hard while pursuing your dream, or catching a bus (it happens). But getting back up is key. Former artistic director of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater and Roadtrip Nation Leader Judith Jamison recognizes that falling is part of life and says that all of us have a survival technique that makes us get back up when we fall, just like dancers do when they fall on stage.
So give it a go. Start failing. Who knows: after a few stumbles (or serious face-on-the-ground crashes), you might just find you’ve finally made it.