Failure and Success

Failure and SuccessWe are fixated on failure and success. We fear failure and at the same time we are often quick to declare that something is a failure. We strive for success yet only have a vague sense of what success looks like for us personally. Today’s article will unpack and explore these.


Failure is just a label. It’s a failure only when we decide it is so. Or sometimes others try to apply the ‘failure’ label to our efforts. In truth, however, there is no failure. There are only learning experiences. We can learn a ton from our missteps. Missteps and mistakes aren’t the problem. Instead they’re how you get there.

When you watch a toddler learn to walk. They take lots of missteps. Eventually they’re walking around. When a toddler falls down, we don’t think, “What a failure. He should quit and do something else.” We see this is as normal. In the same way, we shouldn’t see anything that doesn’t go the way we wanted as a failure. It’s a part of the journey.

Failure and Fear

We fear failure. We fear what it means if we fail at something. Does that mean that we are a failure. If we fail in this effort does it mean it will always be that way? So we often don’t move forward on what we really want. We get so far in life, and then we stay stuck in a holding pattern afraid what it might mean if the next thing doesn’t work out.

Being fearless doesn’t mean that we live without fear. Instead it means we go forward even though we are experiencing fear. Living not experiencing fear is playing it safe. This is when life feels boring and mundane.

I’ve lived a lot of years avoiding risk and fear. I stayed “inside the lines.” I took the path of least resistance. I kept quiet, often. I didn’t do much where I might fail. Nowadays, I still fear failure, but I stretch out and try new things much more frequently. Wow! What a different experience. Stretching, learning, growing, and experiencing new things feels so much more vibrant and alive.


We fixate on success as well. We look at someone with a big RV or an expensive car and think, “Wow, look how successful they are.” We feel a little envious. And then we might work really hard to gain that success and status only to find out it doesn’t really satisfy what we are really craving.

I’m not suggesting you run the opposite way and live like a monk with little to no possessions. Just know that what we deeply crave can’t be satisfied by more things, more vacations, or a higher position. These things, however, can support us if we focus our life on creating deep connections with people and making a meaningful impact in the world.

The punch line is that it’s really helpful to identify what you really crave in life and go for that rather than what the world seems to say you should strive for.

Picture of John and Rena
You can listen to more on this topic on our recent radio show episode. Click here to listen.

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