Wednesday, May 4, 2016

On Accepting Failure #IWSG

When I was a wee thing in school, I used to do the least amount of study needed to pass an exam. Passing was my goal, even if it meant passing by half a percent. I had no motivation to do better. Why? It wasn’t because of laziness. It was because of a fear of failure. That might sound strange considering how close I came to failing. The truth was, if I failed an exam or an assignment by not studying, then that didn’t matter, but if I studied hard, or, well, just studied in some cases, and I still failed to reach my goal, then that would’ve been the worst thing in the world. That was failure on a personal level.

Silly me and my teenage self.

Of course when I eventually did wake up and start applying myself, my world opened up. I could do more, be more. Dreams became possible. They became reality.

The thing about failure is that it isn’t a monster and neither is it the end of the world. Sometimes we have to accept failure to move forward. I’d go as far to say that failure is necessary for success. We learn through failing. We grow through failure. Failing makes us stronger and wiser.

In the Christian faith we must first recognise we are sinners and need saving before we can be saved.

People with addictions must first recognise and accept they have an addiction before they can move forward and start dealing with the problem.

Writers must first write a crappy first draft before they can shape it into the published book it’s meant to become.

To make our dreams reality, we have to apply ourselves and we have to work through those endless hurdles, closed doors, nay-sayers, and our own personal fears. Sure there will be some stumbling along the way, but when we persevere, magic happens.

What are the things that hold you back? What gets you through?

Happy announcement: The IWSG Anthology Parallels: Felix Was Here has at last been released!

What if the government tried to create the perfect utopia? Could a society linked to a supercomputer survive on its own? Do our reflections control secret lives on the other side of the mirror? Can one moment split a person’s world forever?

Exploring the fantastic, ten authors offer incredible visions and captivating tales of diverse reality. Featuring the talents of L. G. Keltner, Crystal Collier, Hart Johnson, Cherie Reich, Sandra Cox, Yolanda Renee, Melanie Schulz, Sylvia Ney, Michael Abayomi, and Tamara Narayan.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents and authors, these ten tales will expand your imagination and twist the tropes of science fiction. Step through the portal and enter another dimension!

You can get your copy from these places:
Print: Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Ebook: Amazon, ITunes, Barnes & Noble, Kobo


This post was written for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. We post on the first Wednesday of every month. To join us, or learn more about the group, click HERE.




75 comments:

  1. Admitting we sin is the first step. Then we can grow from there.
    By the time I reached college, fear of my parents killing me for wasting their money was my motivating factor.

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    1. lol, Alex, that's a powerful motivation ;)

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  2. I think the richest & most successful people in the world have also been some of the biggest failures. But they learned, got up,and tried again. No matter how sore your bum is from falling down - you just gotta get back up! Great post! :)

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    1. Your comment made me laugh, but it's so true about successful people.

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  3. Hi Lynda - failure is part of life - of all things we do .. some we are good at, some not so good, we fail in a game, but we persevere and that is the winning trick ...

    Good luck .. and cheers Hilary

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    1. Learning from our mistakes and persevering is so important.

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  4. Thanks. I have read many biographies and autobiographies of men and women and have come to the conclusion that they all had to work through failure. In fact there are several books on the market. However, it takes courage to accept failure. it is only when we accept it that we can learn from it and move forward into success.
    Shalom,
    Patricia @ http://www.patgarciaandeverythingmustchange.com/2016/05/the-second-milestone-iwsg-article-may-4.html

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    1. Exactly. Failure is a common and necessary part of life. We just need to accept it and work through it.

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  5. Fear is the greatest paralyzer out there, and fearing failure or success can stop you dead in the water, keep you from achieving your true potential.

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    1. yes, and fear of success is just as bad as the fear of failure.

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  6. I so needed to hear this - "Sometimes we have to accept failure to move forward." Thank you!

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  7. This is one reason I love Walt Disney. Do you know how badly that guy failed again and again before Snow White saved his bacon? He was leveraged out to the end of his rope and ready to sink--not just him, but his brother too. No great success can be achieved before truly understanding the importance of failure.

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    1. I'd forgotten that story about Disney.. He gives us a good reminder.

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  8. Failure is how you learn everything that you don't ace right off the bat. It creates a measuring stick for success and appreciate of what YOU can do, when you just do it.

    Great post.

    Below are 4 of my fave quotes about failure.
    I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. ~Thomas A. Edison

    Failure is only a temporary change in direction to set you straight for your next success.
    - Denis Waitley

    “Failure is success in progress” ― Albert Einstein

    “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. ” ~Steve Jobs


    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

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    1. Awesome quotes. I especially like Edison's.

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  9. Failure happens to everyone who tries, one just has to keep on a trying

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  10. "Failure is one step closer to success" said Einstein :)

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  11. Fear of failure is a big heart stopper. Getting beyond that hurdle opens up many opportunities.

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    1. We wouldn't have those opportunities if we let the fear cripple us.

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  12. Hi Lyn, fear of failure is a big obstacle in our thinking process, I am trying to avoid thinking about failure by adopting a positive mindset and attitude.

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  13. As many have said, it's not about how many times you fail. It's what you do after you pick yourself up that matters.

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  14. Fear of failure--ha! I laugh at it. I expect it. How about fear of success? That's where I come from. I'm follow my heart and write. But the bottom line is, success would change my life and I'm not ready for that. No way. No how. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. Your comment made me smile. Embrace it, Anna, embrace it, then go with the change!!

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  15. You've made my day, Lynda. I've written many many crappy first drafts. In fact, I drive my husband nuts because I end up writing 22 drafts before I'm even close to being happy. Fear of failure is such a crippling dilemma. Yet, so many of us put ourselves through that. One of life's mysteries. Great post!

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    1. Those multiple drafts are necessary to get the book to where you want/need it to be. And husbands are trained to deal with crazy writing partners. ;)

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  16. methinks, for most people, past is what is holding us back. Thinking of the past we forget about the present and lose future.

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    1. At the same time we can't fully forget the past. It's good to learn from it, but then move on.

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  17. Yes as Christians that is the place we need as our starting place. Then God has something to work with.

    May 2016 IWSG Co-Host
    May the 4th Be With You
    Stephen Tremp’s Breakthrough Blogs

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    1. May the 4th be with you.... giggle.
      And you also ;)

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  18. As long as I keep focused on right now, I'm okay. When I let the memories tug at me or worry about what's coming next, I bog down. Of course, focusing on just this moment is about the hardest thing I do besides write. :-)

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    1. I hear you... I'm always thinking ahead, thinking back, thinking sideways.

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  19. I'm a great believer that it's necessary to fail to learn. Your successes are the reward at the end of the rainbow, but they don't teach you. Falling down, getting up, considering what went wrong, and then correcting it . . . that's how you learn to succeed. In my humble opinion, success is the reward for learning the lessons that failure teaches.

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    1. I like your take--that success doesn't teach you. It's a great way of looking at it.

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  20. Thank you so much for this post, Lynda - I really needed to hear this this month. Failure, and especially the fear of failure has been preying on my mind a lot lately. But you're right - as soon as you accept that you've sinned, or your first draft is crappy, you can move forward, and that's exactly what I intend to do. Thank you for sharing :)

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    1. Best wishes and a couple of virtual hugs for moving forward.

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  21. As I age, I become more afraid of failure. I think accumulated rejections have caught up to me. I get out of bed for the dogs. Once I'm up, then I have to keep working. I can't ever live without dogs, or I will give up.

    Love,
    Janie

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  22. I used to have a terrible fear of failure (though mine showed in school by giving myself ulcers to get the perfect grades, and freaking out if I got a B...not good for the body or the mind.) I've now reached a stage where I'm willing to try (and, yes, even fail) new things, knowing that they could lead to wonderful things. Not to say that fear is gone, but it's improving. And I can fight it off now.

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    1. Fear never goes away. Not completely, but that's okay. Learning to fight it off is definitely the trick.

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  23. Lynda, your posts are always so insightful. I love it!

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  24. Hi Lyn. As they say, if you've never failed you've never tried. And that's so true. But not everyone is able to pick themselves up after a failure. The successful people in the world probably failed countless times before reaching their goals. Just look at Donald Trump, lol!

    Denise :-)

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    1. we tend to focus on their success and forget how many times they failed before reaching that success.

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  25. Great post. I always hated competitions of any kind, but since I started writing (and submitting), every submission is a competition, and the average acceptance rate is from 1% to 5%, according to different sources. So yeah, now failure seems to be built into my world. No fear! Every rejection is one more step towards success.

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    1. Wow, when you put it into those percentages, it's oddly encouraging.

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  26. Lynda, Neil Gaiman has this wonderful quote that I'd like to share with you about the growth that comes with making mistakes:
    I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
    Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You're doing things you've never done before, and more importantly, you're Doing Something."

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    1. I do love that quote. It's so very true and encouraging.

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  27. I think not trying is a bigger failure than having a go, even if our attempts don't get us very far.

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    1. I totally agree. We get nowhere by not trying.

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  28. Choosing to do nothing is the biggest fail of all.

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  29. What a great post Lynda. I am afraid of failure too and at times I don't want to even accept failure as a possibility until it hits me square in the face. It's youngest child syndrome I guess. Always competing the superstars above me. Oh well. It's also given me a fire that refuses to go out and when I need a little extra fire, I do something playful that makes me feel young again and full of possibility. :)

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    1. Your comment made me smile. Play is essential in our lives. It also helps with writing.

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  30. I've known many good writers who were afraid of failure (or afraid of success) to finish the book and/or submit it. Like the image of kicking that thought to the curb. Go for it!

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    1. Yep, while the submitting process is scary, it's also necessary if we want to publish.

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  31. It all comes down to our own perception of ourselves. Whether we succeed or fail depends upon the goals we set for ourselves. I think fear of failure affects all us writers to some extent.

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    1. Having reachable, measurable goals is crucial for a sane writer.

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  32. Doing the least amount...that sounds exactly like me. And for pretty much the same reason.

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  33. Losing is no option. That's my pride talking instilled in me by my parents and then, well, me. I need to loosen up, is what I need to do, Lynda. Thanks for sharing that. :)

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    1. Eat jellybeans... or copious amounts of chocolate. They will help you to loosen up ;)

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  34. I hear you. My daughter worked hard and is in her 5th year of medical studies now...yet I always say to her...just pass. Don't stress too much. Why? Because she cries to me after every exam that she failed and it turns out she passed with glowing results.

    This fear of failure is very real.

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    1. At least she hasn't let that fear make her stop.

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  35. Sounds like a great anthology, with lots of names I recognize! How fun. And nope, failure isn't the monster we often make it out to be. Reminds me of this quote: "I have not failed. I've just found 10000 ways that won't work." - Thomas A. Edison

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  36. I've learned so much from failure and I've used those lessons learned to accomplish a lot in my life.

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    1. That's a wonderful thing to hear, Medeia. Fear of failure can only hold us back if we don't learn from it.

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