We had it made as children. We could all yell “do-over” and just wipe away the immediate past to start again, without repercussion. The beauty of a do-over is that it negates an attempt at something that was unsuccessful or unsatisfying. It’s like an eraser.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to apply the concept of a do-over in adult life. We can’t have an argument with someone where harsh words are used then just yell ‘do over’ and wipe the slate clean. We can’t wing a business presentation knowing preparation is lacking, thinking we can demand a do-over if – or when – things go south.
Yet, there is something so free-ing about the idea of a do-over. It takes the pressure off; Lets some air into the moment. It negates the ‘do-or-die’ consequences that we often expect and dread, when things don’t go as we planned or wished. I’ve thought about how many times I haven’t done something I wanted to do because I was afraid it just wouldn’t work. The thought of failure can be daunting and it’s often the cause of not even trying.
But what if we tapped into a little bit of our childhood wonder? What if we allow our desire to be curious and explore the unexpected, the unknown or the untried to prevail? If we could do this free of fallout or backlash, I know that I would be more apt to try more new things, more of the time.
There’s a well-known saying by Thomas A. Edison in regard to inventing the light bulb, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work,” he said. A lot of smart, successful people, like Edison, believe that failure is the key to reaching your dreams and goals. There is quote after quote on how failure is a stepping-stone; Failure is the motivation to keep going; Failure is the best way to learn. And yes, it’s true that you learn and build on failure and use what it teaches you to reach your ultimate goal. But if you’re too hesitant to start, you won’t even get the chance to fail, and fail again and then, happily, hopefully, succeed.
So even as motivating as the idea of failing is to success, it can also make you feel defeated even before you even begin.
I like to think more in terms of “fresh starts.” This has a more positive vibe. I’d rather envision myself joyously starting over rather than picking myself off the floor from a failed attempt. If we think and see success in our mind’s eye, and know that we can happily call for an adult-like do-over, we can learn through joy, not failure as our motivational path. Let’s not try to fail better anymore. Let’s just take a deep breath and get a fresh start, again and again and again.