It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.
– Theodore Roosevelt
Something about this last quote has always touched my soul. I’ve known so many in my life who were stuck in their lack of fulfillment and lack of self-actualization due to their fear of failure. Sometimes it was fear of the criticism of others, sometimes it was the fear that their suspicions of inadequacy would be proven true. I’ve always thought that insecurity should be a crime, but then we would all end up in prison. It’s ok to have insecurities. It’s ok to doubt yourself. It’s what you do from there. The animated character Homer Simpson (yes I‘m quoting an animated character) said “You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is never try.” That may be funny for a cartoon, but it’s tragic in the real world. Does your fear of failure cause you to freeze? Does it cause you to compensate in a non-productive or injurious manner? Or do you embrace it, like drinking cough syrup; knowing that it will initially leave a bad taste, but that when you get through it you’ll be better than you were when you went into it? The latter is what successful people do.
Dr. Eric Snowden – Average Man’s Guide To Success