I consider myself to be a bit of a closet perfectionist, which may not always be readily obvious at first glance. My desk tends to be a bit of a disaster (by design) and I’m more mellow than intense. But underneath that outer exterior of happy-go-lucky, I want things just so. I can spend hours agonizing over the right word, font, color, border thickness … all in the quest of perfection. And while it’s good to have pride in your work and want to deliver a superior product, sometimes the drive for perfection also means you don’t try new things because you’re afraid to fail. This has been something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.
You may have seen the Dominos commercial, “Failure is an option”. If you haven’t, I have conveniently embedded it below. Go ahead and watch it. I’ll wait for you. 🙂
*REMOVED VIDEO AS IT IS NO LONGER AVAILABLE*
I’d seen this countless times and I never really gave it much thought. One day, for whatever reason, the premise behind it really connected with me.
Failure IS an option.
This flies in the face of what we’ve been taught. We celebrate winners, not losers. We may root for underdogs, but we root for them to overcome, not fail. We distance ourselves from failure and pretend it never happened.
Yet everyone single one of us fails. Lots and lots of times. And because we equate failure with being—wrong, horrible, awful, terrible and just plain bad—we don’t try again; we move on.
Or worse, we get to the point where we stop trying.
We play it safe and keep doing the tried and true. This is where I find myself right now, playing it safe while dreaming about so much more. There is this little voice inside me, urging me to be brave and accept failure as a possible and perfectly acceptable outcome. To know it’s not the end of the world.
Failure is not only a option, but a fact for those who truly live and experience life in all it’s messy glory.
We put a lot pressure and meaning into success and failure. They are just words. We choose whether they bring out the best or worst in us. The thought of failure in this closet perfectionist holds me back. But I’m realizing now that this just leads to boredom and stagnation, which is a fate worse than failure.
I’m not going to settle. How about you?
Hoop photo by Acid Pix via flickr.