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Finding Success Through Fearlessness

While there is no standard recipe or secret to success, there is one common denominator that exists among all successful people and organizations throughout New Zealand, Australia and North America – and that’s fearlessness. But fearlessness doesn’t mean being born without fear. We all have fears. We all have certain moments in our lives when we doubt ourselves or feel we’re bound to fail. Fearlessness isn’t about being immune to such feelings. It’s about conquering these fears

Being fearless means:

  • Not being afraid of failure
  • Not being afraid to take risks
  • Not being afraid of being wrong
  • Not being afraid of angering people or disrupting the status quo

And while we’ve seen this fearless trait in some of the world’s most renowned success stories (Steve Jobs, Donald Trump), it isn’t something that’s reserved for the rich and famous. Small business owners, artists, crafters, and everyday folks can discover their own personal success through the simple act of fearlessness. 

So, what does a normal, everyday person do in order to be fearless? They aren’t afraid to ask for what they want. They embrace new technology without trepidation. They not only stop fearing the scorn of others, but they embrace it. They have a goal or vision and they have the gall to go after it. These are the traits you need to subscribe to in order to find success in your personal and professional life. 

Be fearless, but don’t be stupid

We often think that teenagers are fearless because the stunts they pull at times. More often than not, however, that’s not fearlessness. That’s just pure stupidity (with apologies to all the teens out there reading this). Fearlessness is not about taking unnecessary risks; it’s about knowing how to rationalize and determine if the payoff of certain risks outweigh the potential drawbacks or ill effects. 

Success in failure

Many people consider success to be when we succeed at something. That seems pretty logical, doesn’t it? You set out to build the world’s greatest WhoseyDoneIt, and you become successful when the WhoseyDoneIt is on the shelves being sold by the boatload. 

But success doesn’t always come packaged as cleanly as that. Sometimes, our success can come from failure. One of the greatest examples of success that came from failure was the post-it note. The post-it note’s origin came from the desire to build a certain type of glue. But the glue didn’t stick very well. The project was a failure. 

Or was it? 

While the original idea didn’t come to fruition, the not-quite-sticky glue became the baseline for a multibillion dollar idea – the post-it. Billions of dollars of success, all stemming from one massive failure. 

The makers of the post-it note could have easily given up their dreams for a super adhesive, and thus robbed this world of the post-it note (not to mention themselves of billions of dollars). But because of their fearlessness, they weren’t afraid of being wrong, and they weren’t afraid of taking risks. They chalked up their failure as part of the learning process, and reexamined their path. 

You can do the same in your personal life. 

Where there’s bad glue, there’s the foundation of your success

3M was the company behind the post-it note, but one man, Arthur Fry, is credited as the mind  behind the invention. There’s very little separating you from a person like Fry. The only significant difference, perhaps, is that Fry isn’t afraid of failure. He’s not scared of being wrong. 

Each and every day we come across our “bad glue” moments – times when reality fell short of our expectations, or when we didn’t live up to what we demand of ourselves. Rather than view these as failures, embrace them as precursors to a bigger and better outcome. Fry did it with his post-it note. Why can’t you do it in your own life? 

Photo by: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cusegoyle/
Creative Commons: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

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