Fear of Failure? This Question Will Set You Free.

Posted: August 24, 2015 in Thoughts on art ministry and life
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treva and dennyMy Aunt, Treva Blair (pictured with my Uncle Dennis who is also and awesome human being) is a brilliant woman in her own right. She was that person in my life. At that time when every adolescent has a hard time relating to their parents, she was there to be a voice of reason and as a result she had a pretty major impact on my life.
I remember this one time. I was worried and distraught over something. Today, what it was has long since faded from memory (which proves her point from long ago was quite correct). She looked at me and said, “Before you allow yourself to get this worked up over something, you need to ask yourself a question, ‘Will this matter in 20 years?’ If it will then invest your time in fixing it, not worrying about it. If it won’t, why worry about it now?” It was some of the best advice I have ever received and when I have the presence of mind to remember, it helps me to stay calm and happy in the face of some truly difficult situations.

A lot of fear of failure comes from worry, anchored in the age old question, “What if I fail?” The truth of the matter is failure is usually quickly forgotten by the general public. They simply don’t have time to remember all the failures of others. They are usually to busy with their own lives. We are the only ones with the luxury of being able to dwell on our own failures. It’s not really a luxury. It’s a self-imposed death sentence to our creativity, but what if we applied Aunt Treva’s question? Will this matter in 20 years? In 20 years life will have gone on and hopefully we will have moves on as well. This perspective should give the courage to try to find the next solution that will move our idea forward or sometimes to let it go and move on to something that will succeed.

Ideally success will last longer that failure, because if failures are seen as learning opportunities rather than fatal blows, we learn from them and move through them until we succeed, finish what we start and ship something wonderful to the world.

Most failures won’t last 20 years, so there’s no point in dwelling on them now. Learn from them and move forward. Thanks Aunt Treva. See I was listening.

(excerpted from my upcoming book Start…Finish…Ship…Repeat)

  1. imdonna says:

    Thanks for sharing , Dave! Can’t wait for the book….how soon might it be available ?? 😃

  2. […] Fear of Failure? This Question Will Set You Free. […]

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