“Our business in life is not to succeed, but to continue to fail in good spirits.” – Robert Louis Stevenson
I’ve returned to this quote over and over again, but it’s only recently that I feel like I understand it. I think the word fail is a little strong. I prefer to substitute the word try. We can do or do not, as a wise little green creature named Yoda once said, but we shouldn’t be afraid to try.
We don’t know what is possible unless we give it a go. Sure, we can rest comfortably and safely in the security of the known, but we’ll never see what’s possible unless we move beyond. It takes courage to move forward and go about our business in life. It is bold to try.
When we try, we increase our confidence, we prove ourselves capable, and we often decrease our anxiety. One of the most anxiety provoking things for me is the unknown or the worry about what might be. When I move through a process, when I show up and put in an effort, I eliminate that factor and often the outcome is far less horrific than any of the scenarios in my head.
Trying helps us to see what works and what doesn’t. It helps us to see what truly matters to us and to see where our skills lie. We see what is no longer worth our time and what would be a better use of those minutes and hours. It is in the trying that we learn and grow and develop a better understanding of ourselves and the world around us.
Not to say that success is a bad thing, but we can’t succeed unless we try. If we don’t try, we don’t give ourselves opportunities to make changes or discoveries. If we don’t first fail, we won’t achieve a larger level of success.
Try, accept the (possible) “failure”, try again, learn from the experience…keep repeating.