~ archived since 2018 ~

Failure is the only option

October 23, 2020

My single biggest weakness is fear of failure. Not just fear of missing the mark, but fear of what missing the mark means about who I am.

I think we all grew up with some fucked up sense that other people get to decide what failure means, and what that says about who we are.

MRP is all about inverting that. Failure is a subjective judgment, not an objective fact. Confusing that might be the most crippling mistake of my life.

My idea of failure was something like: "Do this monumental task perfectly the first time with no practice, or else you'll die, or at least wish you were dead."

I shit you not, that's the extent of my miscalibration. I started asking myself, "how the fuck did I get such an unrealistic idea?" A few ideas came up:

  • I have perfectionistic parents
  • I got away with something like success under those terms a few times early on, so I thought it must be realistic
  • I have a sense (whether accurate or not) of my potential, and I judge myself based on that ideal instead of who I really am
  • Observing men who have achieved a great deal, without observing the work they put in to achieve that

Living under that impossibly high standard crippled me. I started taking on only those tasks I knew with 100% certainty I could achieve. I took on an insane amount of shame when I did fail, because obviously I failed a lot under that standard.

We toss around "there are no cheat codes to success," and I know what we mean. Don't expect to get real gains by taking shortcuts.

Still, some ideas are so powerful, they might as well be called cheat codes. This is one of them. It's not really cheating because it takes hard work to internalize, but doing it can make the difference between a year of running circles vs. a year of meteoric growth.

I decide what failure looks like, and what I think of myself when I fail.

Recalibrating our ideas of failure lays the foundation for a successful self-evaluation loop. If I live under an impossibly high standard of success, I will never be able to make the only kind of progress that is actually possible over the long term: small, incremental changes practiced over and over and over.

I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.
― Michael jordan

Reworking our mental models of success and failure will look diffrent for every man, but sharing notes can help us get there faster. Some ideas I'm working on internalizing:

  • Giving in to the fear of failure is the worst kind of failure. In other words, doing anything is more successful than letting fear of failure decide my actions.
  • Growth is not linear. I need to learn and re-learn things many times, so often it will look like I'm going around in circles when I'm really succeeding at internalizing new material.
  • Practicing DNGAF after failures. Ignore it, make a joke of it, move on. How soon will everyone forget this anyway?
  • Seek out failure just to get over my fear of it. I've caught myself doing things I know wouldn't give me the results I wanted, just as an exercise in getting over the fear of failure and resulting shame cycle.
  • Learning to right-size my expectations. Break a goal down into a small, achievable steps.
  • Refreame the situation positively. I didn't fail, I learned what doesn't work.
  • Decouple performance with personal value. My value of myself is not dependent on external successes or failures, although they will inform future decisions. Unconditional self-respect.


TheRedArchive is an archive of Red Pill content, including various subreddits and blogs. This post has been archived from the subreddit /r/MarriedRedPill.

/r/MarriedRedPill archive

Download the post

Want to save the post for offline use on your device? Choose one of the download options below:

Post Information
Title Failure is the only option
Author ancient_resistance
Upvotes 91
Comments 22
Date October 23, 2020 6:21 PM UTC (2 years ago)
Subreddit /r/MarriedRedPill
Archive Link
Original Link
Red Pill terms in post
You can kill a man, but you can't kill an idea.

© TheRedArchive 2023. All rights reserved.
created by /u/dream-hunter