“Why do we fall, sir? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up. ” – Alfred Pennyworth, Batman Begins
I‘m going to let you in on a secret. Actually it’s two secrets. They are quite literally the secrets to success, the pathway for making all your writing dreams come true. Ready for the first?
You are going to fail.
Take a moment to let that sentence sink in. Meditate on it, let the truth of those 5 words permeate your very mind leaving no room for doubt. Seriously. Don’t carry on reading until you are utterly convinced.
No I haven’t gone mad, honest.
A couple of weeks ago I stumbled and I fell. My writing dreams were not coming true and once again I began to doubt myself and questioned my decisions. Cue a whole lot of soul searching and introspection. What am I doing? What do I want out of it? Should I bother to continue?
Even as I write this I realise I’m not out of the woods just yet. There is a lot of work to be done and I’m a long way from achieving my goals but I’ve now got a better perspective on things.
We Have Failed All Our Lives
When we took our first steps we struggled to find our balance and toppled over. Laugh or cry we picked ourselves up and tried again only to fail once more. How many times we failed is something only our mothers could tell us, in the meantime we walk around completely oblivious as to how we managed to master the skill.
The will to succeed is instinctual but it is a will that we beat back with more and more conviction as we get older. We convince ourselves that failure is disastrous, that we’re not cut out to do something if we fail at it. We even convince ourselves that others are laughing as we fall over – why is slapstick comedy so effective right?
It’s just not true. Fear of failure will hold you back, it will stunt your personal growth and it will destroy your dreams.
The Second Secret: How To Pick Yourself Up
When you were learning to walk you had your parents’ enthusiasm driving you to succeed but more importantly they were there to catch you when you fall. As adults that safety net is no longer visible but that doesn’t mean it’s not there. It’s just not being held by your parents or friends or family – anyone that will tell you what you want to hear rather than what you need to hear.
And therein lies the second secret: you are not alone, others have tried and failed before you.
As a child might reach out her arms to her father we must reach out to our mentors. I did and the resulting words of encouragement and lessons learned are invaluable. I have come back with a clearer sense of direction, a renewed purpose.
The fact of the matter is that we’re all human and we’re not going to succeed 100% of the time. The trick is not just realizing that but also to accept it. Only then can you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and give it another go.
And don’t be afraid to reach out when you do fall over, someone is there to catch you.
So when was the last time you failed at something but chose not to give up? What did you do to pick yourself up? Comment below and let us know!