Personal Development, Leadership, Motivation
There are so many people in this world who have so much potential to be successful, but what’s holding them back is fear, fear of making mistakes.
We have been conditioned that failure or making a mistake is bad, and looked at as a negative. Many of us grow up hearing that we should always be the best, make only the highest grades in school, be the best in any extracurricular activities we participate in, and so on. Even as adults we are conditioned to be the best employees in the companies we work in and have no room to make any mistakes, because we are expected to be perfect.
Such conditioning is so engrained in us that we view a mistake, regardless of its size, as a failure, and usually hesitant to keep trying because we do not want to be in the same position again, the position of failure. Instead of trying again and learn from our failures, many people choose simpler and easier to attain tasks and goals. So, how do we expect to accomplish something great when all we settle for is simplicity and goals that can be accomplished by almost anyone? The expectation of achieving something great should be aligned to the appropriate level of effort required to achieve greatness. The question we should ask ourselves is when were great victories ever achieved without mistakes and failures? As far as I know, the answer is never. We usually would never know if something is working as designed until we test our ideas in real life.
Origins of safety or mistake-free zone and expectation of greatness
So, what are the origins or sources of our mistake-free conditioning, and where does expectation of perfection comes from?
In most cases, it originates with our parents who, of course, want only the best for their children, and therefore, expect for us to be the best wherever we may be and regardless of our age. Our parents expect us to do very well in school, be at the top of our class, receive full ride scholarships, and go to the best and most prestigious universities to receive education necessary to pursue our dream career. I say our dream career, but is this really the case, or are we often pursuing our parents’ dreams that they expect for us to pursue? In many situations, our parents had to work very hard and overcome many obstacles to give us the life that they want for us to have – safe, and rewarding life-style, where we encounter only minor risks, and usually our parents are there to resolve them for us.
This is definitely very comfortable and safe environment, but how much are we actually growing and developing personally and professionally in such protected environment? We are afraid to make mistakes, therefore, we are not trying to start something new that may have a chance of failure or risk. We do not want to disappoint ourselves and, of course, our parents who only expect the best from us. When we make mistakes or try something new and different, something that we want, and then fail, we beat ourselves up for trying, risking, wishing to change something, and potentially disappoint our parents as a result. We want and expect to be perfect because that’s all we know and what is expected of us. Our lack of persistence, bravery, and belief in ourselves, despite the popular belief, limits our opportunities that we would otherwise pursue and eventually succeed, finding what we really want for ourselves.
Other origins or sources of mistake-free conditioning
The other sources or origins where mistakes may be discouraged and only perfection expected are our own peer groups with whom we interact and environment in which we grew up in.
If people with whom we interact everyday view failure, risk, and mistakes as negative and something to avoid, vs. as an opportunity to learn from, we begin to think and act as people around us, even though somewhere deep inside we may feel differently. However, because we want to fit in, we tend to keep our ideas to ourselves, potentially missing great opportunities to keep moving forward in pursuit of our own goals.
Environment in which we grew up in plays a big role in what we do as adults. Generally, if risk taking or mistake making were viewed unfavorable in the environment that we were/are in, we would follow the same point of view as we grew older. For example, if all you see growing up is your parents and other people around you working regular 9-5 jobs every day, staying at their jobs for many years, usually in the same or similar position, and then eventually retire, your understanding of what’s expected in your situation may be very similar, whether that’s the case or not. Expectation of securing a steady job, which requires you to put in 80+ hours per week, and remain at that job for many years until retirement, whether you enjoy what you do or not. Therefore, if this is not what you want yourself, and you want pursue our own dreams and do what you truly love, you have ability to change where you are, explore new opportunities and new experiences.
Points to takeaway with you
Every person has an ability to seek what they want in life, what they want themselves, not necessarily what other people want or expect from them. You need to ask yourself what is important to you at this point in your life and whether you are willing to make necessary changes, make mistakes, face failures and hard work, to achieve what you want. If the answer is yes, then you have necessary foundation to change your present and begin to follow your dreams.
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