“Fall on your face. Fail. Fail spectacularly. Because when you fail, you learn. When you fail, you live.” Harriet Lauler, The Last Word
You can’t be perfect. Nobody can.
In life you can’t know everything. You can’t predict everything.
Failure is out there. It happens at some point to everyone.
But you can learn. You can grow. You can adapt. You can reflect and build yourself into the person who best fits you – which is one of those things you aren’t born knowing. No one is.
You have to discover your likes. Dislikes. Strengths. Weaknesses. What drives you. What you value. What motivates you. … What your defining characteristics are.
You didn’t come with a manual. None of us did. So it is with every try – with every attempt – that we risk failure – failure that we’ve been programmed or taught to fear. But it is through failure – if we choose to learn from it, grow from it, pay attention to it, etc. – that we become our best selves. It is how we learn about who we are. It is integral to the process of self-discovery. And when we dive in and invest in ourselves – when we give ourselves our best efforts – we find what makes us happy, what makes us successful, what makes our worlds go around. For as odd and counterintuitive as it may sound, to become your best, happy, successful self, you must try, and to do that, you have to accept failure as the possibility that shows the right way.
So don’t be afraid to fail. For if you are – you are less likely to try, and if you don’t try – you will never truly know how uniquely special and wonderful you are!
Big Hugs! I hope this POSitude is a healthy living “You Can Do It!” that fully resonates with you!
PS: Take it from me, a perfectionist of the highest order and someone who used to take failure as though it were a walk through the gates of hell:
1. Perfectionism is exhausting work.
2. People tend to take advantage of all of your hard work, leaving you to rightly feel underappreciated, used, and even abused.
3. Perfectionism is based on the unobtainable absolute of always being right, or the best, or … perfect, obviously. Food for thought: who defines what is perfect, and how do they know; are they perfect?
4. And most importantly, for the longest time, I gave perfectionism my all, until I became pretty damn near perfect – I was charting at the top of my academics, with my research, with my work, I had merit scholarships, academic awards, professors pushing me onward and upward, and I went. Harder, faster, until I crashed. I failed.
I’d been too busy being perfect to ever ask myself if I was happy. I was successful by academic and work standards. I felt tremendous and worthy accomplishment. But was I happy? What did I have in my life beyond my work, academics, and research? Real friends? Someone I loved to come home to? A life beyond work? Was the only thing I wanted in my life to be work, school, and research?
Turns out, no. I wanted more. A lot more! I changed my path. I started doing all the things that sounded interesting, fun, and/or exciting to me, beyond the career I’d been building. Some things I liked, loved, and/or was good at. Others, not so much. But I tried. Sometimes I failed. And every time that happened, I examined, reflected upon, … and learned from it. I found what really motivates me. What I really value. What I love. All of the good stuff, including liking and loving myself and finding my honeybun and real friends. And along with that, I found out lots of things that I don’t like or that I don’t want to do again. The things that “aren’t me.” And that’s ok, because in this process of self-discovery and living, I found success and happiness!
For me, I’ve learned that perfection is happily and successfully honed imperfection!
PPS: So, I failed at perfectionism, as everyone eventually does. But I do want to add that all my hard work, for all those years, it built in me a self-confidence I’d never had. I learned what I was capable of. I learned how to excel, stupendously. And I’d be lying if I said I don’t still strive for excellence, because I do in everything in my life. But now, I’m not afraid to explore and try new things, knowing that failure is an option. I’m not afraid of failure. I know it will be okay. Failure will teach me what I need to know about myself and my life, and I know I’ll get where I need and want to be in who I am and the life that – way more often than not – makes me happy!