Embrace your failures, for they are your friends.
Your failures show you that you’re trying to achieve more than you’re currently capable of, (or, at least, more than you were capable of at the exact moment you screwed up). Your failures are there to let you know that you’re still testing the limits of what you can do, and still pushing onwards.
You people who haven’t screwed up good and proper lately? Go and take a good hard look at yourself. What are you people doing? How have you let yourselves reach this cringeworthy point where you haven’t properly ballsed something up lately? How have you let yourself drift into such a state of complacency that you haven’t royally and publicly screwed the proverbial pooch in recent memory?
If you think that your frankly embarrassing failure to adequately fail at things is due to ‘knowing your limits’, you’re kidding yourself. How can you know your limits unless you’re comprehensively stress-testing the bastards at every opportunity? It’s the equivalent of living like a pauper when you might potentially have millions in the bank.
Now, look. I realise that there are some professions and some situations that won’t give you as much leeway as others. If you’re an air traffic controller or a brain surgeon, it’s more prudent to keep your spectacular failures for other areas of your life. But don’t kid yourself that you don’t need them. If your day job means that you can never take a risk for fear of endangering lives, then you need to make pretty damn sure that you get all the really big, enormous failing done in other areas.
So, do me a favour. Go and chat up that person who is way, way out of your league. Try and write a song on an instrument you can’t play, and upload the results to YouTube. Go out today and really fail at something.
Do it often and spectacularly, until you’re thoroughly innoculated against the imagined sense of shame and all that other stuff you’re worried is associated with it. Because no matter how successful you think you are, think how much more successful you could be if you screwed up more often.
My name is Pat Higgins, and my conscience is clear.