The Fear of Falling

I read a blog by a guy named Chris Brogan. It’s about business and promotion. He has some interesting ideas and a good outlook.

Today he posted about the importance of taking a fall or failing. I found his premise quite interesting and valid that it is only through risking failure that success can be achieved.

It’s not a long post and essentially he is not saying anything new. The idea that doing the same thing you’ve always done in the past to no great ends will somehow benefit you if you simply bang your head a little harder on the same wall is a pretty silly one. Do something different. Something you wouldn’t have thought was possible or that would work and be amazed by the different results. Even if the results are not necessarily what you were looking for, they might end up being exactly what you need.

I am reminded of myself. I was 34 and had never really had a boyfriend. I dated here and there but I was waiting for that perfect someone to simply manifest himself in my path the way I saw it happen for other people. For no reason other than it was different from anything I’d tried before, I joined a social network that focused on fund-raising and volunteer projects. That was in December of 1997 and by October of 1998, I was with Will. And even he was a departure. He was too young. He didn’t have a college degree. He liked things that I found only mildly interesting. And the worst sin of all, he was a really nice, thoughtful, considerate guy. If I’d had a list, which I have never had, he would have been cut a million times for reasons so slight they don’t bear mentioning. 

I think lists are the first and best way to keep yourself from ever succeeding at anything.

I totally get the idea of letting yourself fall. Risking. I have risked much in walking away from teaching to pursue a writing career. Salary. Seniority. Tangible benefits. Retirement. But I am happy with what I am doing in a way I never managed to be as a teacher. I am growing as a person whereas teaching was really such an easy thing to do I scarcely gave a thought to the process most days.

Even leaving the U.S. to live permanently in Canada was an out of the box thing to do in most people’s eyes though it makes perfect sense to me and I have never questioned the correctness of it because again, I have gained a sense of completeness and contentment I would not have otherwise. Whatever I may have lost is insignificant in  terms of what I have and continue to gain.

I don’t equate the possibility of something not working out as a good reason not to do something, and I think many people do use that as a rationale for repetitious behaviors that don’t further their dreams or goals.

Have you fallen lately? Perhaps it is time to rethink the reasons why you should.

14 responses to “The Fear of Falling

  1. Lots of food for thought in this post. I keep coming back to it and finding something else to think about. I’m in the middle of the last “leap” I took almost two years ago, and it’s too early to tell whether or not it was a good idea. I am in a different place but still not where I want to be. At least now I’m more comfortable with not knowing what comes next.

  2. took me a couple years to realize i’d augered in professionally… long, slow, slide into “meh”, coasting on my reputation from the productive years. not exactly falling, more like slowly sinking in quicksand. so now? i take some risks. new job is well outside the scope of my tech knowledge. i might very well fail. but i’m thinking that will be better than continued “meh”…

    great post!

  3. Just as the previous Cindy commented, I’ve found that failure (or missing the mark) prompts new growth. Likewise, after long periods of fallow time — when I wonder if I’m blocked forever and should just give up — I’m often surprised and rewarded with lucky breaks and happy surprises. I risked a lot and turned down a couple of good jobs 25 years ago when I decided to become a freelance writer and editor. Scary at first, but the best decision I ever made. It wasn’t all about getting published, either.

  4. I used to feel scared of failing as a writer. Felt I had to be published because I didn’t want to be an old person who had failed to achieve her dreams. How depressing would that be? To live with the knowledge that you’d tried and failed? But now I think differently. As it turns out, failure propels growth, at least for me. I’m glad I didn’t play it safe. Glad I took chances, put myself and my writing out there. Looking back, I see how far I’ve come, even though the road is way different than I might have predicted…

  5. If you never fall, you never have a chance to get back up again.
    I understand the move thing; coming here was a big deal for me.
    And people think I’m crazy not to be working in nursing, but instead pursuing the writing thing.
    Thoughtful post; thanks.

  6. Blogging is out of the box for me. I’m not usually very forthcoming about myself until I know you really well. And I might have failed at it, too. I have only succeeded because I met Daisy Fae and Nurse Myra early on this time. You have to risk to live.

  7. My wife has an expression: “It’s like betting ten dollars on the instant replay.” Doing the same things and expecting different results is the very definition of insanity.

    Some times leaping is the best way.

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