As I’ve previously written, my fear of failure has caused me to avoid trying new or intimidating things at various points in my life; thus, this quote really struck a chord with me. Though I often was “the best” at many of the pursuits I did undertake, this quote gave me a new view on those triumphs. I often rose to the top through a mix of natural ability and dogged practice, but it frequently seemed as though winning did not take as much effort for me in comparison, and perhaps not nearly as much effort as it should have. In those instances when I played it safe and took the route most likely to lead to “success,” did I really succeed if I did not learn along my way to gathering trophies? What was really gained by avoiding the scary possibility of failure in favor of the safer guaranteed success? Indeed, I now wish that I had stepped outside my comfort zone more often.
As I continue along my quest of learning to fail–and fail gracefully–this quote gives me the confidence to view those learning experiences as valuable, worthwhile victories. Giving myself permission to fail, to learn from those failures, and to count the resultant learning as success simultaneously gives me permission not to be ashamed of those attempts. I am looking forward to stepping out of my comfort zone more often in order to lead a fuller life than I previously would allow.