Do you remember how many times you fell down when you were learning to walk? I don’t personally, but I’m sure I fell hundreds if not thousands of times in my quest for 2-legged movement. Do you think you cared about falling down or did you just instinctively get up and give it another go?
While teaching in China, the first day of every class I wrote, “MAKE MISTAKES!” on the blackboard. This was somewhat alarming and confusing for students of all ages. Make mistakes? Why would I ever want to make a mistake or worse, fail at something?
I explained to my students that when learning a new language, you have to make mistakes. Otherwise, you end up repeating the same old tried and true phrases, “How are you?” “I’m fine. Thank you.” “Where are you from?” and you’ll never be able to master any language.
As kids, we’re encouraged to make mistakes. How else can you grow? For some reason as adults, we’re often expected to have it all figured out by a certain age and our tolerance for mistake making and risk dwindles. This is especially challenging when we’re taking on a new skill, new career, or new dream.
While learning Spanish and Chinese, I made a LOT of mistakes. I still make mistakes. The inner perfectionist in me isn’t always happy about these mistakes be it in another language or in life, but I’ve learned how to laugh at myself, how to gracefully look like a fool, and most importantly, I learn from them very quickly.
I was recently invited to host an interactive podcast on Butterfly Radio (if you have a smartphone, download the Butterfly app and look for the “6 Months to Live” station to follow and ask me any questions you might have) and someone asked me about the relationship between failure and happiness.
Failure is an essential part of life. Our best lessons can stem from our failures. What I find is that people give up too quickly on their dreams. They try and fail 3 times, and they promptly deduce, “That dream’s not possible!” Of course, there are times as Kid President says, “To go and get a better dream,” but I’m talking about the dreams that you consistently fantasize about, the ones that you just can’t shake, the ones that stay with you every day. The ones you’re willing to sacrifice for. Those are the dreams worth pursuing, and they’re absolutely attainable!
I believe if you can see it, you can achieve it. If you weren’t ready for that particular dream, you wouldn’t even have the ability to think about it or to conceive it. The reason I have fulfilled all my big dreams is because I keep going. I have failed. I’ve been rejected. I’ve had dark nights of the soul. I cry it out, dust myself off, and get back up because my heart craves that dream.
And having been on the other side of fear many times, I know that Dreams Do Come True and that there’s always a way. Also remember there’s help. You are not alone in making your dreams a reality. You don’t have to make all the mistakes someone else has already made. You can learn from them, so you can get to your dream faster. All the work I do centers around bringing Dreams to Life because I believe that people are their best when we’re all living our passions and are abundantly supported in doing so.