Failure is Not An Option

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What’s up everyone, happy Monday, and today, I’m here to tell you that failure is not an option for your life!

April 13th, 1970. The mood was cheerful. The crew was in the cock pit, playing with the camera. It was suspended in air, and spinning. The feed from the camera was being sent all the way back to Earth. The technology being used still amazed these astronauts. They were in space! They were on route to travel to the moon and back. It was time they checked the system hardware. A routine diagnostic that they had done hundreds of times in training. They shut off the camera and began the procedure. Everything seemed normal until the crew heard a bang. “Houston, we have a problem.” They said over communications, that just moments before had been cheerful. The power systems had been shook up and were now failing. After hours of diagnostic, it was now apparent that the shuttle would not have enough power to return to Earth. The mission began as a matter of scientific exploration. It was now a matter of survival. The astronauts began to fear they would never see their families again. But the engineers on Earth would not stop working. They had a mission. Get those astronauts home. They instructed the astronauts to power down all unnecessary systems. From here, they realized that the only way home was to sling shot around the moon and return home. Failure was not an option. This is the story of Apollo 13, man’s 5th lunar mission; the 5th scheduled to land on the moon.

If you google the title of this blog, this story is the first thing that will pop up.

These astronauts and engineers were faced with challenges that failure seemed to be the only possible outcome. They had not been prepared for this. There was no handbook they could turn to that would tell them what to do next. But not once did they consider failure as a option.

Failure is not an option for your life. Now I know you probably aren’t going to the moon any time soon, and your choices won’t mean life or death for you or anyone else in just a few hours unless you make the right choice. But none the less, failure, is not an option.

Not for your life. Not my life. Not your sister or brothers life. Not anyone’s life. It is not an option because saying it was an option would be suggesting that you could manage to go through life without failing. Failure isn’t an option. It’s a requirement. The astronauts were facing failures during this flight in space. But every time they tried something that didn’t work, they would try something else. Some people fail and that’s it. They become a failure. They screw something up, their life comes crashing down, and that’s it for them. Other people fail, and it’s a new beginning. The failure either makes them start over, or makes them find a new path. But it does not make them quit.

But you’re still wondering how this relates to the space mission? If you make a bad choice, is it going to kill you? Well look at it this way, sure, if you don’t learn from your failures and you keep making the same mistakes, it may not mean you are going to die in outer space in less than a day. But if you keep failing. If you accept failure as your outcome. You give up on your dreams and your life, doesn’t that just mean your dying slowly? You aren’t doing things that make you happy. You either live your life or you’re just dying.

But what is failure? What is success?

The definition of success is the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. You see something you want, you go get it, and once you have it, you have succeeded. Seems simple? The thing is, you probably won’t reach success on the first try. Maybe not the second try. Or the third. You might have to find 10,000 ways that don’t work before you find the one way that does.

The first definition of “failure” in the Merriam-Webster dictionary is “omission of occurrence or performance”. The second definition is “lack of success”. These definitions sort of relate to 2 different kinds of people. The first definition is one you should follow if you have any real goal in your life. It is saying that the way you did it this time did not work, so try something else. Fix the thing that caused the failure and make it a success. Stop omitting performance. This is the best outlook on life. The second definition is the one that most people seem to think of when they think of failing. Lacking success. That’s basically saying that failure and success don’t coexist. That they aren’t sequential. That somehow, if you have failure, you won’t have success. That the two are completely binary. You either have one, or the other. The truth is success does not exist without failure. You make mistakes until you figure out what works, then you succeed.

Just because you fail, doesn’t make you a failure. There is a difference between failing and quitting. Failing is a part of the process. A successful man is more familiar with failure than someone we’d consider a failure. The successful people in the world take a shot, and eventually, they make it. That’s what everyone hears about. What you aren’t told is how many times they screwed up before this success you are seeing was achieved. It sometimes takes years to reach a success.

The journey is not over until you quit. You cannot succeed after you quit, and you cannot quit if you want to succeed. The key is not to quit. The key, is to change your game up so that next time, you aren’t making the same mistakes that made you fail before.

Success is a journey. It’s not a sprint, but a marathon. The issue I see with most people is that they see a goal they want to achieve, but they don’t want to go the distance it takes to get there. You have to learn to appreciate the process. Because the process is going to take up wayyy more time than those too few brief moments of triumph at the end. If you agonize through the journey, that success is going to be severely underwhelming. Now I am not saying that you have to enjoy the stress of the path you’re on. It’s hard, I know. But you just have to appreciate those failures for what they are. Those failures are teaching you. They are showing you the error in your ways and making you change the way you’re going to get to your success.

You should fear failure. It should terrify you that you can never be certain you will succeed. You should do everything in your power to never allow failure to happen. But you should never let that fear keep you from trying. You should fear quitting, or having never tried WAY more than you could ever fear failing.

Now get out there, and get after it! If this blog inspired you, please share it wherever it is you share things, and be sure to tune in next week, when we talk about the perfect squat!

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