Post Submitted by Edwin Safo Kwakye Jr.
I grew up in a community where caution was preached daily to me. What that fostered in my mind was to sail close to the shore and never venture far off because it was an uncharted territory. As a child, I was quite the character, constantly exploring and jumping around any chance I got. I remember asking questions almost to the annoyance of the adults around me. You could have called me hyper and that would have been a fair assessment. You can imagine my dear mother screaming at the top of her lungs for her precious little boy to exercise restraint. I tell you this story because I want you to see the juxtaposition of my innate character with the society I lived in.
I grew up in Ghana, West Africa and as people from the country can attest, most parents are quick to discipline their children on the slightest showing of childishness associated with rebellion. This constant shaping of young minds to not venture off or explore uncharted terrains and to conform to rules of society, leads to adults who are not particular excited or are too scared to start new ventures but rather to conform to old institutions or play it safe.
I told you all that to tell you this. Most people are so scared of failure that they fail to start a new project, a course of action, a relationship or a business. We constantly look at failure as a negative cloud that follows us everywhere we go. Our environment, our upbringing and our natural tendencies make us this way. We don’t have to start blaming anyone for this but rather to realize this aspect of ourselves and make positive changes.
Failing is not entirely a bad thing and you don’t have to be an optimist to realize that, although being a pessimist makes it difficult. Let me ask you a simple question. What do Michael Jordan, Albert Einstein, Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, Thomas Edison and Walt Disney have in common? They all failed in some way or another but did not let it define them. I will explain.
Michael Jeffrey Jordan: Arguably, the best basketball player of all time! His drive, worth ethic and hunger to succeed was unheard of. He led his club and country to numerous victories whiles picking up personal accolades along the way. His charisma was magnetic and this made him a global icon.
Do you know that when Michael started playing basketball in High school as a freshman, he was cut from the team because he “wasn’t good enough” according to his high school basketball coach. He is said to have gone home , locked himself in his room and cried. Can you imagine if M.J had not decided to try again and work even harder? Can you imagine if he didn’t learn from his failure and you use that as a form of motivation? The answer to that question is the world would have missed an opportunity to witness one of the most gifted and talented athletes of all time and Michael Jordan would have missed an amazing opportunity to affect so many lives like he did.
Alert Einstein: Mr, E= MC squared himself. This superstar of a scientist is so popular that he is regarded as the most influential scientist of all time. This German-born theoretical scientist developed the general theory of relativity one of the two pillars of modern physics. He received a Nobel Peace Prize in 1921 for his services to theoretical physics.
Do you know that Einstein wasn’t able to speak till he was 4 years old and wasn’t able to read till age 7. His teachers labeled him as slow and mentally handicapped and that he would not amount to anything. Boy ! Was that wrong.
Can you imagine if he let those words define him? The foundation of quantum physics would have been lost to man.
Steve Jobs: This CEO was able to resuscitate a dying company to become the poster boy of Silicon Valley. He inspired and led Apple to become the world’s second largest IT company by revenue and the most admired company in the world according to Fortune magazine from the years 2008-2012. Did you know that this founder, chairman and CEO of Apple, was once kicked out of his own company. Can you imagine the pain he had to endure walking away from a dream he had helped conceive. As history will have it, his endurance and ability to learn from his past mistakes led him to return to Apple and ultimately shape its future and image.
At this point, I hope you get the drift of why I asked the question above. These individuals persevered and kept on pushing even when the world thought they weren’t good enough. When they failed numerous times in the case of Thomas Edison ( about a thousand times ) they kept on pushing forward till they achieved their dreams. You need to start looking at failure as a positive step towards success instead of a negative image. When you attach positivity to failure, you then aren’t as scared to fail. When it happens you embrace it , retool , restock and reapply.
It is only with this mindset that you can begin to break barriers into new ventures and terrains. I was listening to Jack Canfield speak once and he mentioned that he didn’t understand people who were afraid to fail. He explained with an example where an individual was afraid to ask someone out to lunch. He mentioned that before asking someone out to lunch, you were going to eat alone anyways, the answer you get from the person should not determine if you eat or not. Life, still goes on. You only loose company you might have had if you had decided not to ask because you were scared.
I wish you all good luck on your individual missions in life. Remember to always have a positive mental attitude and to never be afraid …… to fail !