Your life should be a process of continuous evolution of learning, transitions, risk taking, failures and transformations if you want to achieve more than your few moments of fame, writes PK Menon.
People from all corners of the world flock to the UAE in droves each year to try their ‘luck’ at breaking into a new market, irrespective whether they’re entrepreneurs, start-ups or corporate executives. But given that research suggests that almost half of the world’s expats fail to cut through in their new venture, it’s clear not everyone comes prepared for the hard slog they will face once they arrive at their destination. So what do those that succeed do differently to those that don’t? Quite simply, the difference lies in their attitude towards fear and failure and their tenacity to persevere when the odds are against them. Indeed research has shown that the world’s most successful people don’t achieve great success despite their failures; they succeed because of them.
Basketball legend, Michael Jordan summed up the importance of failure beautifully when he famously said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games and 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Life isn’t just an upward climb
Some people seem to think that once they’ve climbed to the top of the corporate ladder or started the business they’ve always dreamed of, they’ve ‘made it’. But life isn’t just an upward climb, especially in the 21st century game we’re all playing today where change is always just around the corner and competitors are constantly vying to take the top spot. Life today must be a continual evolution of learning, transitions, risk taking, failures and transformations if you want to achieve more than your few moments of fame. Indeed the level of success any professional aspires to achieve hinges directly on their ability to learn from failure. This is true no matter what their profession, their industry or where in the world they are located.
Courage walks past fear
Human behaviour is predominantly driven by two factors – the avoidance of pain, and the pursuit of pleasure. Fear is the underlying factor that drives both behaviours and explains why people are compelled to actions that fail to serve their best interests. Furthermore, the fear of failure is a fundamental cause for procrastination and inaction. While many will challenge the idea, it is ironic that most people are just as fearful of success as they are of failure. Why? For the simple fact that both bring us out of our comfort zone. It is only when we develop the courage to walk past our fears that we can begin to appreciate and benefit from the immense potential that lies within.
In North America’s Rocky Mountain Ranges, the American Bison is known for deliberately turning to face the violent storms common to the area while other animals flee westward in an unsuccessful attempt to outrun it. The fearlessness shown by the American Bison pays off. Known for its tenacity and resilience, the American Bison has discovered the answer to a problem many humans fail to grasp in their lifetime – the need to put fear aside and tackle a challenge head on.
Today as we compete on a global stage, our challenges have moved from the savannas, forests and mountains to the boardrooms, stores, hotels and the Internet’s vast virtual world. The ultimate irony is, we all share the same fears – every single one of us. Like the American Bison, successful people have the resilient, tenacious mindset that enables them to put their fears to good use. In other words, courage is not the absence of fear. It’s the will to overcome it so that fear becomes the driver rather than the dictator.
The key steps to transform failure into triumph
- Clearly define your vision or purpose – Why are you here and exactly what do you want to achieve?
- Patience – Understand that the ‘get rich quick’ scheme exists only in fairy tales. It takes patience, sacrifice, tenacity, grit and constant deliberate practice to become the authority in
- Flawless execution – Inspiration has a shelf life. One of the most common reasons people fail to last the distance is that their initial desire, no matter how strong, fails to translate into action.
Top 7 traits of successful people
- They show resilience and immense courage whenever they hit a cross road in their journey towards achieving their vision.
- They face their fears head on and don’t just set goals; they roll up their sleeves and get on with it.
- They say ‘yes’ more often because their growth mindset tells them anything is possible if you set your mind to it.
- They neither compare themselves to anyone else nor do they have unrealistic expectations of others.
- They understand that giving in to fear prevents them from achieving their vision.
- They understand that talent is overrated and see the pursuit of lifelong learning as an investment in themselves.
- They believe that quality beats visibility hands down and do it well regardless of whether anyone’s watching or not.
At the end of the day, fear prevents us from achieving our goals and being true to who we really are. It’s up to you to make your authenticity shine. Don’t fall into the trap of complacency. Be relentless in your push towards fulfilling your passion and never stop learning in order to build on your existing skills. Remember, your vision is far greater than every challenge you will face. When it comes to gaining the competitive edge and achieving victory in the 21st century, don’t ask, “Why me?” Believe in yourself and ask
“Why not me?”