I find it particularly interesting and amusing that there are abundant sources of literature on the subject of How To Be Successful, Quickly and even on Averting Failures and Risks. However, there is very little that is written up on how to deal with being unsuccessful, being risk-prone and what to do when you've failed? I suspect it is one particular taboo subject alongside sex and nudity. Or better, one of the most dreaded words in the English language.
We have practically been brought up in a landscape where success, defined in terms of fame, fortune and fans; should be everyone's lifetime goal. The unnecessary stress this brings upon every individual is proven by the unarguable success of pharmaceutical companies making happy pills and the number of very affluent shrinks/therapists as well as cosmetic surgeons.
Something is terribly wrong here.
Growing up in a family where academic achievements defined your future, I chose to be the maverick. I refuse to follow my family's definition of success, much to the pain and chagrin of my parents. Whilst my big brother raked in the honours, I chose to be the apple of the Discipline's Office, The Detention Centre and the Guidance Counsellor. Nope, there was nothing clinically wrong with me, I just refused to be outstanding. However, I was exemplary in matters where Citations were given but they were completely of a different nature.
I realized that because of this trait, I have become fearless about "failing". You see here, the fear of failure tend to reduce your capacity to stretch and dare yourself. When you're afraid of failing, you're scared to dream; you tend to be catatonic and immobile, fretting over other people's opinions and feelings, instead of yours. You end up feeling comfortable with mediocrity, for as long as it is simple, safe and comfortable enough.
Life is too short to be fearful of failing. Didn't someone say before, "it is not how many times you fall that counts, it is how quickly you can rise up again?" or something like that.
I think the simplest way to live with this is to accept realistically, that Failure, is always an option. This does not mean that you are not going to be giving your challenges your best shot, or that you have reduced your competitiveness. For me it simply means, that there is a possibility that I can fail, so I plan ahead to avoid it. If I still fail nonetheless, I move on. I just know for a fact that whatever you try to do and however you try your damn best to do it, sometimes, things just don't work out. I will not beat myself up for my failures. Shit happens, to the best of us. If shit hasn't happened to you, you'll probably be in for a major enema. Damn, that's going to be tougher!
Failure does not define who you are. The world and its men can call you such, but believe me, it is not your identity.
Just dream on, be reckless, try on new things, do things that will make other people stop and think that you are actually, certifiably insane! Love with all you've got, don't hold back. It can probably cost you a lot, but who cares? Fail everyday! Embrace your frailty and move on. Live a little. Look at the "true" heroes and icons of the world, Vincent Van Gogh for instance, at some point people believed them to be deranged. They could be, but so what?
I follow Buddha's dictum: "The only real failure in life is not to be true to the best one knows." So I choose to tread on and risk, failing and falling, but each time, rising with greater enthusiasm than before. So to life, mankind and the world, bring it on!