I’ve known this to be true for a long time, but I used to just shove that fact under the rug, pretending it wasn’t true. Because I have always been a driven person, it has meant I am prone to dreaming and envisioning a day when all the great things in store are really happening.
But I somehow, some way, always manage to sabotage my success.
And, I bet you do it too!
Think about it… how many times have you started a project and left it unfinished? Sure, you had high hopes and you could see things so vividly, you just knew it was meant to be! So why wasn’t it?
How many times have you given up on something and used a less than valid excuse to justify things? Or, how often do you immediately list dozens of reasons to NOT do something – something you really desire – and then find it difficult to think of reasons why you SHOULD DO it?
That’s me. In all truthfulness, when the rubber starts to meet the road, I usually hit the brakes. What about you? Do you also sabotage your chances of success?
If not, stop reading and please share your secret to eternal optimism and confidence with me. I would really like to get an insider’s perspective. But, if you are like me and want to take steps toward changing this lackluster trait about yourself, please read on.
When Failure is More Attractive than Success
This sounds completely idiotic. How can failure be more attractive than success? Well, for starters, failure is familiar. And let’s face facts: the odds are against us in most of life’s great pursuits. And failure is present, whether the outcome is a success, near miss or an absolute loss.
For instance, a baseball player that does not get on base two-thirds of the time is typically a safe bet to be one of the league’s best hitters. That’s because they are hitting at a .333 clip (which is pretty darn good). The vast majority of restaurants that start up will fail in their first year of existence. College students who are on the cusp of graduation assume an unwritten right-of-passage by mocking the rejection letters they get in response to their attempts at landing their first post-collegiate jobs. They may have even done the same thing when applying for college admission and/or scholarships.
Failure is simply the result of trying, but it doesn’t mean we can’t get up and try again. It’s inevitable and goes with the territory of living life. And it’s common enough that we can accept it as a sense of normalcy.
Success is Uncomfortable
Success, on the other hand, is not normal. Sure, we all have felt a sense of accomplishment, but for many of us, it is not a position of comfort. I don’t know about you, but when the spotlight starts to shine on me, I immediately look for someone else to go in my place. I am not accustomed to it, don’t know how to act in it, and I get very self-conscious and nervous.
Success also yields a degree of pressure. If you are a well-known failure, the expectations of you are fairly low. However, along with a track record of success comes a load of expectations to continue succeeding. To deliver. To be reliable. To put in the labor and hard work to bring the outcomes that are desired.
Success is difficult. Failure is easy. And that’s why it is such a more common experience
Where to be Confident…
So what can we do about it? How can we become comfortable in success?
He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. – Psalm 40:2-3
First, remember we are not alone in our failures and they are often used for our refining. The Bible has many examples, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, David, and Peter just to name a few. They not only overcame those shortcomings, but they used failures as personal growth through refinement.
In fact, God sometimes BLESSES US WITH FAILURE to bring later success. If we learn from our mistakes instead of placing blame or “playing the victim card” at every corner, we just might grow into mature people and followers of Christ who are capable of impacting the world in ways only previously imaginable.
But, we first must trust in God, and then have the courage to desire success.