Why Your Failures Are Ultimately Irrelevant

I talk a lot in my books about going for your dreams and really squeezing every last drop out of life while you can still enjoy it. And as part of writing my books, I spend a lot of time talking to people about this idea of taking responsibility for your own happiness, finally making that big change you’ve been talking about for years, or creating goals that are so big and amazing that they kind of scare you a little.

Pretty much everyone has these big dreams — but comparatively few people actually go after them. When I ask people why they haven’t pushed the boat out and gone for their dreams yet, I hear the same answer over and over again:

“I’m afraid I’m going to fail.”

And while I can absolutely sympathise — after all, taking responsibility for your own happiness can be scary — what you need to realise is that ultimately, your failures are irrelevant.

Everyone fails sometimes; and when you’re stepping out of the norm and creating great things in your life, you’re going to fail more than others. While that’s often painful, the only thing that actually matters is how you use the failure.

There’s a great quote by Leonardo da Vinci that says “Experience does not ever err. It is only your judgment that errs in promising itself results which are not caused by your experiments.”

If you think of what you’re trying to do with your life or with your business as an experiment, you can draw a great lesson here — failures are just results that were different than your expectations, which means that they make really valuable lessons.

Let’s be clear:

I’m not saying that it doesn’t really matter what happens, or that all failures are beautiful in their way, or that we should all get a gold star for effort. Failures are painful, sometimes even devastating, and there’s no excuse for not giving something your all.

But the problem lies in using a fear of failure as an excuse for not trying, or letting yourself become so afraid of failing that you never really stretch out of your comfort zone. So when you fail, don’t try to downplay it or deny that it’s painful … but equally, recognise that the fact that you’ve failed doesn’t matter. What matters is the valuable data you can get from it!

The bottom line: don’t let a fear of failure get in the way of living life on your terms.