Dare to Fail
This weekend I will kiteboard. I’ve been putsying around on the beach learning how to fly the humongous kite. Now it’s time to strap on a board and hit the water. I am the most uncoordinated person I know. But sometimes you have to dare to fail. In traveling. At work. In life. So here goes nothing…
Interviewers love to ask When was the last time you failed? Your answer is supposed to show character, grit. The
fact that it takes you a while to think of the time you failed shows that you don’t fail often. You’re supposed to think hard. Try and look like you wish you failed more just so you could answer the question. And when you do answer, you don’t mention the time you failed to make the rent. Instead you talk about how you failed to finish your stint in the Peace Corps because you caught malaria. But oh how you’d do anything to change it…if only the doctors hadn’t insisted…blah, blah. Make sure your future boss understands that it wasn’t your fault. This whole scenario stems from the fact that we don’t value failure.
We don’t value failure.
And we should. If you’re not failing, you’re not trying hard enough. It’s cliché but the only way to do more and do better is to fail in the process of learning.
Traveling is all about failing. Inevitably you’ll fail to make your plane sometimes. You’ll fail to communicate in foreign lands and foreign languages. Your stomach will fail when confronted with the more exotic delicacies you encounter. It’s ok. Today’s failures are the things that can inspire you to get up and go travel again tomorrow.
Be proud to fail.
I know, I know. Easy to say, hard to do. After all, you hate the feeling of failing. It’s embarrassing, belittling and makes you feel like a big, fat loser. How do I know?
Let me introduce you to me and Sports. I love them. I work hard for them. But they never seem to appreciate my efforts. Although I’ve been playing on organized teams since I was seven, all I’ve ever managed to win is the Sportsmanship Award. I’ve flunked soccer, gymnastics, tennis, golf, track, ultimate Frisbee and even cross country. That’s right I can’t even figure out how to run without failing. This feat becomes all the more impressive when you consider what I’m working with. My family includes a semi-professional soccer player, state recognized hockey players and equestrians, university champions in pole vaulting and cross country, and yes, even a US Olympian. Where did I come from?!
(This confirms all suspicions that I am an adopted Russian princess.)
So why am I trying kite surfing after so many failed sports attempts? Um…did you see the video up top? Why would I not try that? My boyfriend, JD, has been learning. He’s been battling waves, wind and getting plenty of mouthfuls of saltwater. And in just a month he’s already good, like impressively good. Maybe (definitely) I won’t be so graceful, but hells I’ll try!
As much as the momentary low of failure stings, it’s a necessary part of pushing yourself further and farther.
So go on, fail at something. I dare you.