To me, failure and falling are two separate things. When we choose to settle for mediocracy and familiarity, that's failure. Success requires letting go of that familiarity, and falling a few times in order to get there.
When we first learn how to ride a bike, we start out using training wheels. But they only serve us for a short period of time. There comes a point at which you must take them off. Sure, you can continue using training wheels for the rest of your life. It's easy and comfortable, but you're not going to be able to fully ride if you don't evolve to a regular bike.
Once we remove them, it's a known fact that we will fall over and skin up our knees. It's an inevitable part of learning. But once we've fallen a few times, we start to get the hang of it, and soon enough, we're riding farther, faster, and with more confidence than we ever thought possible. Oh, and we never need to go back to using those training wheels. They're long gone.
That's how I like to think of moving from mediocracy to success. We have to let go of what's no longer serving us in order to evolve.
We have to.
Letting go of what's safe and comfortable is actually more terrifying (and therefore debilitating) than the fear of not achieving what we've set out to achieve, or the fear of success (reaching our dreams).
I'll admit, my biggest fear is letting go. I even have an art print by Katie Daisy on my desk that says 'Let Go', because I have to constantly remind myself to do so.
Deep down, we know we have what it takes to be wildly successful. But the road that we must travel down in order to get there is dark and treacherous. The road of mediocracy that we're currently on is light and fluffy - like a hot stack of pancakes. While delicious, it may not be serving us anymore. We may not feel challenged or happy on this soft and cozy road, but it's familiar, so we have trouble letting it go.
In order to achieve the greatness that lurks within us, we have to make the conscious choice to journey down the road less traveled. Think about the last time you went on a hike. Did you ever venture off the beaten path to a place that was far more beautiful and captivating than anything you would have seen otherwise? That's how we have to approach chasing our dreams. Our dreams don't exist on the road to mediocracy. They're just beyond the bend, close enough that we can feel them, taste them, even hear them, but we won't be able to see them until we take the risk and blaze our own trail.
Letting go requires trust. It requires faith. It requires staying aligned with what you truly desire in life. Just like riding a bike, as soon as you make the choice to evolve from training wheels, you're going to fall a few times and skin up your knees, but you'll never need to retreat back to where you once were. Your trail won't be easy to travel down, but the rewards of what's waiting for you at your destination far outweigh what you would have gotten had you played it safe.
So go ahead, take the jump.
Painting #14: Close Encounters (4x4 inches, watercolor)
Original Instagram post, inspired by a sign I saw on the side of a telescope through which I was observing a solar eclipse. I found it pretty profound...