Embracing Failure to Grow as a Person

The quote on the upper right side of this blog I stole from a silver paperweight I bought in a museum gift shop. The paperweight has this Michaal Jordan quote on it.

That should tell you something right there about the validity of the quote when you know a champion athlete with great success in life is the person quoted.

“Don’t Be Afraid to Fail. Be Afraid Not to Try.”

At HealthCentral when I was the Health Guide there for close to nine years the editorial team wrote a news article that must have stole something I wrote elsewhere on that website.

The editorial team had the boldness to write in the news article that: “The only real failure is the failure to try.”

And they understood that for those of us with an MH challenge sometimes trying can be as simple as getting out of bed or taking a shower.

My take on this is that as long as we try our best there can be no shame in failing. Giving our goals our best shot counts more than whether we actually achieve what we set out to do. I bombed out big time in my first career in the gray flannel insurance field.

Failure is simply the cost of doing business in the real world.

Experiencing failure is necessary to grow as a person.

When you’ve lost your mind there is nothing else you could ever fear losing.

Thus people with MH challenges have nothing left to lose and everything to gain by risking achieving goals.

 

We need to fail to learn what not to do.

We need to fail to experience all that life has to offer.

We need to fail in order to succeed later.

Like Michael Jordan I too was always afraid not to try.

The alternative–not risking getting a job–was no option.

I didn’t want to be doomed to collecting SSI forever and living in a dangerous crack-drug-infested apartment complex on the edge of town the rest of my life.

In recovery as in life there are no guarantees.

Yet if we don’t take these kinds of speculative risks that involve the possibility of failure (the possibility of gain or no gain):

There’s only one guaranteed outcome:

No chance of potential success either.

My motivation for taking the risk to get a full-time job in 1990 was simple:

I sure didn’t like living in an apartment where my friend and I joked that we had cockroach races to see which bug got to the other side of the living room first : )

I’ll talk more in coming blog entries about taking healthy risks.

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Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She owns a resume writing and career help business. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and a fitness buff.

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