“Qui audet adipiscitur.”
“Who dares, wins.”
More than one person has suggested I take on too much. Despite the elements of truth in such claims, I hold no intention of stopping. Why?
I dislike limitations.
Not to say I don’t believe in them, but at any given time I can make a guess as to where my limits are and be wrong. Should I sell myself short, I may miss out by not trying. Contrarily, if I overestimate my reach, I may fail.
Given the choice, I’ll take failure over surrender every time. Why?
Whenever I act and fail:
- I replace speculation with certainty. I know I did not succeed.
- I gain the opportunity to assess what led to this outcome.
- Understanding how I failed, I can refine the skills required to succeed.
- I can change the actions1 contributing to failure, and succeed.
Whenever I fail to act:
- I create doubt from uncertainty.
- I deny myself the ability to learn.
- I avoid risk, yet gain nothing.
- I still do not succeed.
“Sedit qui timuit ne non succederet.”
“He who feared that he would not succeed sat still.”
– Quintus Horatius Flaccus
So why do people give up before trying?
In a word, fear. The paralyzing fear they are not good enough, they may fail and transform the mere possibility of failure into something real. Anyone can claim anything, as long as no need for proof exists. Faced with an opportunity to prove those claims, fear begins to take hold, chipping away at confidence, sneaking in needless questions: Can I do this as well as I thought? If I can’t, what will people think of me?
Society grinds into us the (flawed) perception that failure is shameful. This suggests it is something to avoid, when in truth facing failure head-on is an act of courage, one of self-reliance and trust in yourself.
Though we disguise this with clever terms like “risk management”, the underlying truth remains: To be ruled by fear is to accept that you will never be more than you are in this moment. Such thoughts have no place an utterly unacceptable notion.
This phrase should never be uttered. “I won’t” is acceptable. It says “I choose not to”, accepting responsibility for the decision. If you are not confident in your ability to act, start by taking control of your decisions. Own your choices.
“I don’t have time.”
What you actually mean when you say this is “I don’t want to make time”. Were it important enough, you would make time. You choose not to.
“This is too hard.”
Break down the seemingly overwhelming task or situation into smaller elements and digest them individually. Establish a foundation and build upwards. No problem is insurmountable, if you are willing to spend the time.
What about you? How do you handle self-doubt?
- Very few opportunities never come again, despite what salesmen claim. [↩]