Today’s post is comes from Cody, a blogger at Fly to FI. In this post, he will share the importance of taking action, and how he has found success through failure.
We are capable of so much more than we give ourselves credit for. Why then, do most of us settle for a less-than-ideal life?
The answer is simple: Society has taught us to fear failure.
As a consequence, we are hesitant to step out of our comfort zone and dream big. Instead, we take the easy way out and settle with a this-is-good-enough mindset.
I hope that after reading this article, you will embrace failure and start to break down the imaginary wall between you and your goals.
Fear of Failure
From the beginning, society convinces us that failure is not acceptable.
At a preschool soccer game, every team earns a trophy regardless of place to ensure that no player feels like he/she has failed. This everybody-is-a-winner mentality persists throughout our childhood and into early adulthood. By the time we enter high school or college, we have an innate fear of failure and rejection.
This fear binds us from taking risks and pursuing our passions. It’s a lot easier to go through the motions and follow the crowd than to branch out and try something different. Despite what society implies, you don’t have to sit in misery at the nine-to-five job you settled for!
Remember when you were young and when asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?”, you’d respond with tremendous goals and dreams?
“I want to be an astronaut.”
“I want to be the president.”
Systematically, the conversing adult would respond “That’s great! You can do anything you set your mind to.”
Fast forward to adulthood – what happened to those colossal dreams and desires?
Chances are, society convinced you that these feats were too difficult to achieve. In order to avoid failure, you took an easier route to ensure that you would “succeed”.
I challenge you to reinvigorate the excited little kid from your past and begin to chase your dreams and passions.
The Importance of Taking Action
The reason I mentioned our innate fear of failure was not to demand that we can succeed at everything, but instead, to highlight that dreaming big and failing can cultivate future success.
Let’s look back at the elementary-school student who said: “I want to be the president when I grow up”. In order to prepare for this monumental goal, she would need to practice the necessary presidential skills. These skills may include public speaking, negotiating, writing, networking, and many more.
For years the dreamer hones and refines her presidential skill set. Unfortunately, she never makes the presidency.
However, she goes on to become one of the most respected senators in U.S. history.
Did she fail at becoming the president? Yes. BUT the skills she gained from her journey to achieve this goal allowed her to become wildly successful in the Senate.
Everything does not always work out in the exact way that we want it to. However, you will never achieve any degree of success if you do not try in the first place. A failure can teach us infinitely more than a success can.
Try, fail, and try again.
The skills and lessons gained from your failures will eventually generate success. Take action and never look back.
How I’m Taking Action through Side Hustling
I am not some poser preaching about philosophy. I have embraced the failure-brings-success mindset in my own life and used it to gain valuable skills and eventually create successful businesses.
My first two business ventures failed miserably. The first was a tutoring company, which attracted a whopping zero clients due to poor marketing and lack of effort. The second was a specialty clothing company. I put significantly more effort into the clothing company and created a website, social media, and advertisements. I ultimately decided to give up when I realized I was in way over my head after talking to several Chinese manufacturing companies.
Despite these failed ventures, I continue to persist. I finally struck success with Arsenal Discs, a disc golf manufacturing company that I co-founded with a close friend named James. Much of the company’s success can be attributed to the skills and knowledge I gained from my failures. I already knew how to create a website, manage social media, and network with professionals.
Of course, I continue to fail in some pursuits, but as I continue to strive toward goals I learn useful lessons along the way. My blog, Fly to FI, would surely have never achieved success as quickly as it did if it were not for the lessons I learned from the hundreds of mistakes I made on my previous websites.
I currently earn approximately $900 per month from my side hustles. This translates to $10,800 in annual earnings and that figure is growing. My current lifestyle costs ~$16,000 per year, so I’m only $5,200 shy of supporting my lifestyle in perpetuity.
As my businesses grow and my income exceeds my necessary expenses, I can start to accumulate substantial wealth while doing the things I love!
If you have a passion, pursue it! In this technological age, there are ways to monetize nearly everything. If you have an idea and just can’t figure out how to make money, I highly suggest checking out the PopUp Business School. This organization helps aspiring entrepreneurs create successful businesses and their services are completely free.
Volunteering is also a great way to gain exposure to new ventures and experiences. Start off by offering your services for free and once you’ve gained traction, begin to monetize. The best part is that volunteering feels awesome! You get the opportunity to help people, grow your brand, and form lifelong connections.
Remember: set goals and work tirelessly to achieve them. Sooner or later, your efforts will pay off.
Alleviating yourself from the fear of failure is not easy, but once achieved, this mindset can unlock perpetual success.
I am a goal-oriented worker. Setting “checkpoints” for a project helps me to persevere and maintain motivation. This framework might not work for everyone, so figure out what motivates you and use that to invigorate your action-taking spirit.
Instead of letting your next failure upset you, recognize all of the skills you gained and honed during your journey. If you are continually trying your hand at new things, it is literally impossible to learn nothing. Leverage your failures and keep on trying. The business you didn’t start will never be successful.
To learn more about potential side hustles and odd jobs, check out my Why Income Matters post.