What exactly is failure?

Today, I continue the discussion of Arnold’s 6 rules of success with Rule #3: don’t be afraid to fail.1

I wonder when did I learned to fear failure?

Maybe it was:

  • In school when I was told good grades made me a “good boy.”
  • When I linked rewards vs. punishment depending on the outcome of my actions.
  • The relationship of closeness to my parents as a results of something I did.
  • When I was told adults need to have more responsibility.
  • The first time a friend got mad or hurt by something I said.
  • When my parent protected me by saying “be careful of falling”, “you aren’t ready for that yet”, or “stop playing around.”

I have heard that we are only born with 2 fears: the fear of sudden loud noises and the fear of falling.

You may find more options during your research but one thing is certain: none of them mention the fear of failure.

Ponder on that for a moment…what does that mean?

My mom tells me when I was a toddler I liked to take things and throw them in the air. According to mom, one day I decided to use a brick. What do you think happened? It hit me on the head…

Maybe that explains the CrazyPanamanian…
Of course, I don’t recall this moment in life but it makes me wonder what motivated me to do such a thing. Furthermore, what stops me from doing the same 30 years later?
Think about what I learned from that experience?

  • The brick is going to win.
  • Throw it anyway since you are still around.
  • Throw it and get out of the way.
  • Throw it in a different direction.
  • Try something else.

The main point is that the goal was exploration; and the result, learning.

So why in the world, do I have so much fear of trying something new; especially, when it comes to my dreams?

You can’t be paralyzed by fear of failure or you will never push yourself. – Arnold Schwarzenegger

As a kid, I didn’t think about consequences, I was relentlessly pursuing knowledge, exploration, and outcomes. I learned by try new things not by analyzing everything.

I encourage you to challenge your fear of failure by reflecting on your past and recognize what failure has allowed you to accomplish. After all, you are reading this blog thanks to the successes in your life. The internet service, your financial support system, the computer you are using, learning to read, and your ability to handle technology are all examples of you moving forward in spite of failure.

What exactly is failure? But a representation of Michelangelo sculpting the David within you.

I leave you with a quote of one of the most recognized people in the world, Nick Vujicic.




  1. Checkout rule #1 and rule #2 

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