The difference between failure and success sometimes boils down to the impact of a mere 1% – that final 1%.
That is because this typically represents the point where mental and/or physical fatigue has set in; where past failures along the way have led you to doubt whether you have what it takes to complete what you started; or where your early enthusiasm has been replaced by questioning the wisdom of having started in the first place. But…
Having already done the hard work; having already made tremendous sacrifices; or having already gone 99% of the distance, you could very well miss out – IF YOU STOP NOW.
O. N. Rowe
The difference between success and failure might well boil down to that final 1%, where you struggle the most to go on, and where you feel like you have done everything you can do. It is at that point where your success might very well be closer than you think – perhaps just 1% of incremental effort away.
We all can agree that if confronting and overcoming our respective fears was so easy, hardly anyone would fear anything whatsoever! But for those who take that bold step, you are demonstrating a recognition that overcoming is up to you.
While confronting our fears, we often prefer to do it away from prying eyes primarily for fear of intimidation and/or embarrassment. At times our closest friends, or even relatives, are not aware! After all, this might be a pursuit that is personal to us. Nevertheless, whatever setting or circumstances works best for you, go for it!
Despite our best efforts, however, it is hard to fully escape the eyes of others. It then becomes quite possible that among those eyes are some that belong to someone who join in cheering you on! Further, for some, upon seeing your courage, may just become so inspired by you that this provides them the impetus to take on their own personal fears!
I can assure you that regardless of what fear you are working to overcome, you are not alone. So as you diligently pursue your goal of facing your fear, you may never know who is watching.
What exactly is success, and who defines what success looks like? Who said ‘success’ has to be the achievement of some grand, lofty goal, as measured by societal norms? Who so pompously declared that for you, even getting up out of bed isn’t a resounding success of the highest order? And who said you even need to have already finished what you started in order for it to qualify as ‘success?’
When our focus is merely on ‘success’ we tend to see anything short of that as failure. We might feel our effort has been wasted. We might even feel that the nay-sayers who voiced their pessimistic views or words of discouragement, were right! Such a view not only ignores our effort, but also dampens our drive to undertake a future task where a successful outcome is not assured. And that would be a most unfortunate outcome.
However, when we put our journey in its correct perspective we will see that it takes a special kind of courage to take on a challenge, especially one that takes every ounce of courage we have. Your struggles are often personal to you, and you alone are most intimately aware of the struggle you face daily.
You are best placed to be your biggest cheerleader. Sometimes, even the decision to START, translates to success and that is worth celebrating.
O. N. Rowe
I am convinced that by redefining success you will find that you have been displaying tremendous courage all along, and deserve far greater credit than you had thought.
Just because something might be harder for you to do, or take you longer to do, is not a reason to avoid the challenge. In fact, a willingness to take on a challenge despite the obvious difficulties it will present, demonstrates a greater act of courage than any accomplishment by someone for whom it would be considered ‘easy.’
Courage is when you don’t see the full way ahead, but you start anyway. Courage is when you decide that instead of putting your life into someone else’s hand, you are going to take charge and set about building the best life you can. Courage is leaving an abusive relationship even though you don’t know how you will make ends meet. Courage is leaving your comfort zone in pursuit of your dream.
Ascribing to yourself – or to others – a level of courage, success, or even effort solely on the basis of meeting a specific goal is to miss the fact that courage at times is not tangible. In other words, you cannot judge something someone does as having been ‘courageous’ just because they do something. I believe that courage is to be assessed by factors that are often internal to the person experiencing a particular fear or trepidation.
It is therefore not fair to deny yourself the satisfaction of each small step you make; it is not fair to deny yourself the patience you need when you have tried and failed; it is not fair to deny yourself the forgiveness you need when you ‘fall off the wagon’ and are back at Day One in your tracking; it is not fair to deny yourself the opportunity you need to grow into someone you can be proud of, recognizing that you are not yet who you want to be but you are working on it – you are working on YOU!
It is not fair to deny yourself the freedom you need to recognize and celebrate your victories as you go about exercising the courage you have within you.
I am no psychologist but there is enough evidence to show that fear is learned – and by the way, fear is not necessarily such a bad thing! Different experiences as we grow up, along with words seared into our psyche, can shape our responses, and help to determine the things we fear.
Our different personalities also interact with our experiences to influence the level of fear we hold towards different things. Regardless of what the object of our fear is, the fear is real and can be debilitating. Moreover, regardless of whether or not someone else feels our fear is justified, that will not take away our fear.
It helps for someone to be comfortable with, and open about, their fear. Vulnerability is a state that we all seek to avoid, but it is through our willingness to be vulnerable about our fear that we develop the confidence to confront it. Some people who might appear fearless in the public domain, are actually quite fearful. For some the remedy is unfortunately drugs, which serve to inhibit fear and create a false sense of bravery which, sometimes, lead to undesired outcomes.
Embracing our fear, and taking deliberate steps to challenge them, is ultimately what will lead to a redefinition of how that which we fear impacts us going forward. Overcoming our fear does not necessarily mean we are no longer afraid; it just means we won’t let it control us. The first step towards overcoming our fear, therefore, is to Confront Our Fear.
So often we fail to give ourselves credit for some accomplishment, because we either see it as something we ‘should be able to do anyways;’ or perhaps it is something that society dictates that we should have already done.
These expectations help to shape our vision of what success looks like, and sometimes even have preconceptions of what it will take to get us there. We think about the destination, but sometimes forget to recognize the importance of the journey itself. While possible, achieving success might not be easy, and if we allow our fear to take root, that can easily guarantee failure. But should that stop us from trying?
To some people, mastery of the most complex processes will come easy; to others not so much. To some people, carrying out the most daring or challenging activity will come easy; again to others, not so much.
Courage is not the absence of fear; instead it is choosing to push forward even in the face of fear. It is about confronting a challenge even when all the indicators point to defeat or failure, just because you recognize there is a greater good to be achieved by the mere fact that you are willing to attempt to fight your way through.
Your situation, whatever it happens to be – but especially if it seems impossible – is your opportunity to demonstrate courage!
O. N. Rowe
Courage looks different for different people. For some, courage is standing up for what you know is right, no matter how unpopular it makes you. Courage is being willing to forgive someone because deep down you know it is the best thing for you, even when to others it appears that it’s because you are weak. Courage is not a loud shout; instead it is a quiet purring that slowly but surely tears down the wall of fear that you, or society, have put up around you.
Courage comes in many forms, and to those who do not know your story, it might be mistaken as insanity. Courage is choosing to proceed nevertheless. Some might mischaracterize your fear as cowardice. Well if they only knew how courageous you are being by choosing to confront it anyway!