“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn’t do.” – Henry Ford

A fear of failure is part and parcel of the human condition. We ALL suffer from it.

The only thing worse than failure is failure in public! Thus, we resist subjecting ourselves to situations which expose us to such discomfort – like public speaking. Fear of public speaking is a common phobia- and why wouldn’t it be? It places a person in an inescapable position where every eye is focused their potential failure. It’s an incredible emotional risk.

Of course, with great risk comes great failure – however, with great risk can come great success!

No person ever reaches their true potential without risk and failures. But, the failure rate is a 1000+ to 1, which is why most give up or don’t bother trying at all.

Few humans are born experts. Ask any renown engineer, doctor, athlete, business owner, inventor, writer, artist, etc., and they will tell you how often they failed and how much work went into achieving their success. It rarely comes easy – after all, if it came easy, it would be worth nothing!

What separates the successful from the whining loser is tenacity. Attitude – the willingness to expose one’s self to the pain and cost of failure yet still press on. Setting goals and working towards them no matter how many walls are hit along the way.

Those who persevere understand that failure is a component of learning. We cannot learn without failure. However, failure is still only a component. True learning occurs through failure followed by repentance.

When we fail, we must repent of our old ways! We must study and understand how we failed, then alter our behavior accordingly. Without repentance we are doomed to repeat our failures ad infinitum – And that’s the exact opposite of learning.

The truly successful embrace failure and repent! They admit what they did wrong and change their ways, avoiding the same mistakes in the future.

When it comes to gunfights, failing in the middle of one is not the time to learn such lessons! This is why we train. We rid ourselves of as many potential failures as possible by applying the lessons learned from those who experienced fatal catastrophes before us.

All such lessons were, and still are, learned in blood.

And they are not lessons absorbed by plinking cans in the back yard. Neuropathways must be constructed through repetition of proper technique. We master the mechanics, thus leaving our minds free to process the fight. The intended result is: No matter what happens, the problem is downrange, not in our hands.

The only way to achieve such proficiency is hours, days, and weeks training, combined with massive amounts of failure – often times publicly in front of friends and strangers. However, even after we devote years to the art we are never truly masters. We remain students, fully understanding the necessity of failure.

When we accept that failure will never be eliminated, it is, in the Zen and the Art of Gun Fighting-way, the path to enlightenment. It is the key to overcoming this fear and reaching inner peace. It’s also the cost of living [think hard on that one.] We must fail to learn. We must continue to fail to continue to learn. We must continue to learn to continue to live.

Embrace failure! And leave the fear of it to the amateurs. Our lives, progeny, and nation depend on it.

“When we fail, we fail magnificently! We admit what we did wrong and we repent. Then we rejoice! For today we learned! – John Farnam

“Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is freedom.” – Marilyn Furguson