I've always been a big believer in doing what makes you happy. However, life doesn't always work out according to plan. Almost everyone will experience heartbreak, a job loss, health problems, etc. I for one have encountered many bumps in the road, which at the time have seemed like devastating "point of no return" moments. Yet, I've managed to push through these seemingly bad times and bounce back with more courage and strength than I previously had.
In fact, my lowest moments in life have only made me want to achieve more. When my relationship ended with my long-term college boyfriend, for example, I decided to move to an entirely different country by myself. This experience helped me build my career, expand my social and professional network and has ultimately allowed me to discover my true self. Sure, there was that fear of failure and doubt in the back of my mind. However, I told myself that I could always come home if I wanted. At the time, I knew that I needed to do what would make me happy - and those 4 years living abroad helped more than words can describe.
The point I'm trying to make is that failure is worth the risk. So, if there is something you have always wanted to do, and you're lucky enough to find the opportune moment, you shouldn't hold yourself back. If you lose your job, for example, and decide to start your own company, you shouldn't stop yourself by saying you can't do it, because you actually can. So, why not take the plunge?
Here are 3 reasons why I believe that failure is always worth the risk:
#1 You will understand yourself better
One of my favorite quotes comes from former U.S. Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld. Mr. Rumsfeld once said,
"There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say there are things that we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know."
The only way we can go about figuring out the "unknown unknowns" in life is by taking risks. I would have never understood my passion for writing had I not moved across the world to work at a startup that required a native English speaker. I never would have discovered the traits I seek in a life partner if I hadn't already been in 3 long-term relationships. Doing what makes me happy involves a ton of risks that can very well result in failure (and have). However, in order to discover the "unknown unknowns," we have to take the plunge. In the end - even if you do fail - you will understand yourself better.
#2 You will become happier
Happiness can only be achieved once you understand your true self. In order to do so, however, you have to take risks. People learn about themselves not through others, but from their own actions. For example, how would you ever know you like ice cream if you never try it? Sure, this is a popular dessert, and you can assume you will enjoy it, but you will never actually know until you try it for yourself. Of course, tasting ice cream isn't as large of a risk as starting your own company. But if you think about these things in the same way, you will understand the importance of putting what you want to do in action in order to determine the end result.
#3. You will become stronger
Finally, understanding yourself and projecting happiness will help you become a stronger person. Uncertainty results from taking risks. You are never sure how successful your next relationship will be; if you will end up married forever or getting divorced. And, you can never be sure if your new business will be successful. Uncertainty is inevitable when we place ourselves in new circumstances. This is why so many people fear and even hate change. When we learn to embrace change, however, we become stronger. Getting hurt after a failed marriage can help us realize what to look for in our next spouse. Losing your job can help you understand what to look for in your next role. Over time, strength builds as you "start over" after failure.
For better or for worse, everyone will experience failure at some point in life. Nothing ever goes according to plan. However, recognizing the positive results that come from taking risks will help us understand not to fear failure, but to embrace it. After all, the only way we can truly learn about ourselves, become happier, and grow stronger is by overcoming failure.