No one fears failure. The willingness, the desire, to create is perhaps the chief characteristic of being human. That quintessential desire of humans to want to improve, to go beyond our current limits, is a natural condition. This natural condition makes the fear of failure all but impossible. So, then why is it that not all people are successful, content? Why does depression and despondency regularly show its ugly head?
The antecedents of failure are indecision and indifference. Usually (always?) the negative emotions of indecision and indifference are influenced by other, more real, fears. Such as a fear of poverty, criticism, ill-health, loss of love, old age, and death (Napoleon Hill). It is these six states of mind that lead to the result known as failure. Eliminate these six states of mind and success, in any endeavor, will be had. So, what state of mind should I try to foster for success? A state of mind of the highest ideal.
The striving for a high ideal, perhaps an ideal out of reach even (Lecomte du Nouy), is the cause necessary for great creativity, for great achievement in life. How will I know that my actions were right, if I do not aim high? How do I know if I really achieved, if don’t raise the bar high enough? What are ideals if they are not placed high and out of reach? Why should I have a goal or an aim if I know I can reach it? If I know I will/can reach my goal, let me go and do something else. If I set my ideals beyond reach then what should I do? Go forward about my work, step-by-step, light-by-light and trust that what I know to be true will carry me forward.
The life of perfectionism or the life of idealism is the life of responsibility. The life of responsibility and, by natural deduction, greatest creativity and productivity is a life in which we learn to trust ourselves fully. Perfectionism is an act of being, an act of pursuing something greater than yourself, and the act of being responsible for your own actions, that is, knowing that to be truly great (i.e. responsible, perfect, ideal) is not about being overly cautious or safe, but accepting and acknowledging that many things have risk that are out of our control. It is adopting the attitude that if something does happen then I’ll take care of it.
What are the right desires, aims or ideals? A better question might be: what are the right desires for each individual being? The right desires are not for me to decide, but here are eight to get you started (courtesy @metaboliceffect):
- Separate the performer from the performance.
- Carry one’s self with a quiet authority.
- Know that your perfect physical body was created with perfect wisdom.
- Develop and know your strengths at the same time as you develop your weaknesses into strengths.
- Be creative.
- Be responsible – entirely – for all aspects of yourself.
- Look for the up-sides
- Be ready to serve.
And if you are really ready to live the responsible and creative life, here are possibly six more (courtesy of Leonard E Read):
- A desire to grow, day-in-and-day-out, in conscientiousness, that is, the perfection of self.
- A desire to know our countless blessings.
- A desire to recognize the mystery of Creation at the Heavenly and earthly levels.
- A desire to better understand and explain the freedom way of life.
- A desire to share one’s ideas with all who care to listen.
- A desire to recognize that no matter how far we advance, our felicity (i.e. happiness) is never complete.
If our desires in life are high enough, then it will not be the achievement of desires that makes a contented life, but the process of pursuing said desires.