When we are little, we are often taught to fear failure. Failing is the worst thing we can do, as it disappoints our parents or our teachers or other people who matter in our lives. This makes us grow up with the idea that it is wrong to make mistakes. But this attitude is guaranteed to hurt us later in life.
Why is it a problem? When we are averse to failure, we hold ourselves back. We are not willing to take risks or learn new things. We are far more likely to stick to what we know rather than try to get new skills or new ideas.
Mistakes are often the best tool we have for learning. They show us where we need to improve and what we don’t yet know. A perfect score might feel good, but it also can show that the material was too easy for us. When we mess up, we learn and do better. If we avoid failing, we might feel stuck in place, repeating the things we already know over and over again.
The first step is often to allow yourself to make a mistakes. We might have a sense that failing would be like the end of the world, often, even the smallest mistake can feel terrible. So after we give ourselves permission, we need to start making mistakes.
Don’t start by blowing your big business deal or something of importance. You might never need to go so far. But allow yourself to let go and not double-check something small. Make a mistake. See how it feels.
At first, you might feel terrible. But then you will see that the world is still there. Nothing bad happened, and if it did, you were able to handle it easily enough. Nobody came to yell at you. The sky didn’t fall.
This is a valuable experience because it shows you that making mistakes is not so terrible. It lowers the perceived cost a failure has. It helps you whenever you make a mistake without meaning to, because you are able to find the learning opportunities.
That is another strategy. When you begin to see each failure as an opportunity, it becomes easier to overcome it. Sometimes, you still need to take some time to process the blow, but then you can pick yourself up and learn from whatever went wrong. Then, you can try again, try differently, try better.