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  • Writer's pictureChris Gordon

If you are not failing, you are not learning

If you’ve been following along, last week we shared some thoughts on getting out of a rut. We offered up some questions for use in self-reflection as well as some ideas of what could be done if you’re feeling stagnate. We talked about situations or ideas that make you uncomfortable and how this can be an important piece to personal development and growth. None of it was groundbreaking information or something you never had heard before, but hopefully it gave you something to reference for future use.

What’s funny is many of us look for ways to cope with situations we find ourselves in. We subscribe to email lists, podcasts and Facebook groups and flood ourselves with all this great information with all these talking points. In theory we should have all our sh!t together; that is, until it comes time to do the thing. To sign up for the class or to take off for the hills with no real plan. For most of us it makes us feel great to talk about all the things we want to do, it’s putting it into practice that brings about that feeling of discomfort, anxiousness and fear.

Do you ever find yourself wondering, what if? What if you had ignored what others wanted and did what was best for you? What if you had put more time into the other thing you were doing? What if you had been more patient or had been more open-minded? It’s a pretty safe bet that we all do from time to time; and, while we cannot go back and change the past, we can use this information to make better informed decisions in the future. Unfortunately, many of us continue to let the “what-ifs” hold us back. Why is that? Could it be we are afraid of what the outcome might be or might have been?

Here are some things to think about if we suspect that fear may be holding you back:

  • Do you find yourself not doing things for fear of being criticized or rejected, or are you afraid of failing?

  • Do you tend to validate your current situation or decisions with acceptance of contentment because where you’re at is realistically where you are supposed to be?

  • Are you always saying “yes” to things because of a fear of missing out?

  • Do you say “yes” to things because you need to please others?

  • Are you saying “no” to things due to being uncomfortable or for fear of being rejected?

  • Do you tend to engage in “busy” behaviors in order to avoid certain things, or to put off decisions?

  • Is it difficult for you to speak up for fear of being criticized, insulted or sounding foolish?

"Our greatest fear in life should not be failure. Our greatest fear in life should be succeeding in things that don’t matter.” – Francis Chan

This quote can surely be used in many contexts, but for the purposes of this blog we are simply going to use it with regard to learning. This may be a somewhat polarizing assumption; but, we believe that one’s willingness to learn is directly correlated to their ability to get out of their own way and ditch the ego. If we were to hypothesize, nearly everybody knows of someone within their social circle who is unwilling to do or try something new or different because they are afraid. Not afraid, like a dog is of fireworks, but afraid they might learn something that challenges their current way of thinking; that what they had always known to be true works in other ways too.

As scary and fearful as it can be, and as counter-intuitive as it might seem, getting outside of what you already know can be a phenomenal learning experience. It's just getting over the hump of being uncomfortable and opening your mind to new thoughts and ideas.

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