So Failure Is Not an Option?

Failure is not an option. We hear that on many fronts.

If you live or work in an environment saturated with that philosophy, the end result had better be worth the damage the environment is doing to you and your psyche!

I’m thinking mostly now of any destination where the lives of others are in our hands along the way. First and foremost, this includes our responsibility to drive safely on our chaotic freeways but also on those quiet country roads that can distract us. Failure is definitely not an option in these scenarios.

Outside of other critical jobs involving the safety of other people, failure is definitely an option. Failure is how we learn. Failure is how we achieve any degree of success in life. But we have to try first.

Failure because we didn’t try is rather different than trying and falling flat on our face. BUT before we try, we have to prepare ourselves to try. I know as well as anyone that it would be foolish for me to try certain things, whether I want to or not, preparation or not. Physical and mental limitations do come into play and we’d be stupid to attempt things we cannot do. The technology doesn’t quite exist yet for a blind person to drive a car or any other vehicle on the open road but perhaps it will in the near future. Check out this great TED talk on that topic.

We can assume such limitations don’t apply to many opportunities. Sometimes…quite often, actually…preparation means observing others, copying their steps (or not), reading, studying, taking classes and tests, and so forth, before we lift off. Depending on the opportunity, we may need to include a good dose of prayer on a regular basis during that preparation.

Prayer never hurts even in oddball situations, though I’ve often wondered if God really cares whether or not our soufflés fall. Not being a fancy cook, that doesn’t matter to me. For someone whose life revolves around gourmet cooking, it’s a different level of anxiety. He or she might pray non-stop for hours if an important dinner is scheduled.

Even when we’ve learned enough to try, and we actually succeed, we won’t learn everything we need to know that first time out of the gate, especially in relationships. Those take years to grow and to grow into. No one should feel like a failure along the way in spite of setbacks.  These might include trying to adjust to the need to consider someone else before making decisions.

There’s a reason for the difference between a pilot with 1,000 hours of flight time and one with 10,000 hours. It’s called experience. In addition, a first private pilot certificate is for visual flight rules (VFR) only, and an instrument rating (IFR) can later be added to it, not the other way around.

There’s a reason additional ratings have to be added on by way of examination, not just attempted because the pilot feels like it: multi-engine, helicopter, airship, seaplane, business jet, and so forth. The ratings are not automatically granted to those who apply. The FAA has strict rules and the examiner cannot interfere except to maintain safety. Some applicants do fail all or part of their additional ratings exams the first time around.

If you’re continually being told failure is not an option, ponder that. Is the command really not negotiable? Why are you being told that?

Do you need to pull up your socks and get on with it? Are you already in the wrong profession? Is failure not an option because you need to get into a prestigious university or is it because your family wants to save face if you’re not accepted?

Perhaps your family hasn’t come to the realization that failure is sometimes an option. Another route may be a better choice while you wait to hear if you’re accepted into any medical school after 10 years of applying to all of them.

Failure is not an option?  You decide.

Disclaimer: My blog posts are statements of opinion only. I am not in the business of giving financial, legal, medical, or any other type of advice. See Terms of Use and Disclaimer for further disclaimers.

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