All Success Carries the Risk of Failure

Many people seem to assume that if you were to look at success and failure, you’d see them as being at opposite ends of the spectrum. Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact of the matter is that success and failure are effectively two sides of the same coin and they are at the same extreme end of the same spectrum.

If that’s the case, then what is at the other end of this spectrum? I’d argue that it would be something akin in mediocrity or inactivity. Allow me to explain using the allegory of mountain or rock climbing, as depicted by the image embedded at the top of this post. In order to make it to the top of the mountain, you have to take a series of calculated risks. Each time that you take a hand or a foot away from the cliff race, you run the risk of falling off. At the same time, each of these attempts grant you the opportunity of getting closer to your goal: reaching the top of the mountain.

The exact same step of moving one of your hands or feet can get you that much closer to either failure (which would entail falling off the mountain) or success (which would entail getting closer to the top). By attempting to get closer to success, you inherently run the risk of failure. By taking a chance at the best case scenario, you run the risk of facing the worst case scenario. That’s just how it works, whether you’re talking about personal relationships, professional endeavors, or just about anything else in your life.

And at the opposite end of this spectrum is that mediocrity that I had mentioned earlier. This would be like clinging onto your current position on the mountain, refusing to lose your footing or your grip. You hang on for dear life, because this might be the safest position to take. You minimize your risk of failure, but you also minimize your risk of success by allowing yourself to be frozen in mediocrity. That’s how you get stuck in the middle of the mountain, neither falling to the bottom nor reaching for the top.

It’s easier choosing to take these calculated risks if you follow in the footsteps of those who preceded you, but there are greater rewards if you choose to be the pioneer and go first. Be bold, be original, and you can enjoy even greater rewards. Don’t be afraid to be unconventional in your approach too, even if it could run a much greater risk for failure. Again, it can also give you a good chance at unique success.

When I first started my career as a freelance writer, I could have very easily fallen flat on my face and broke on my backside. There was a definite risk of failure in there, but I managed to overcome it by taking calculated risks and they happened (mostly) to work out in my favor. I still have a very large mountain to climb, but it’s reassuring to know that I, at the very least, am taking steps to move up rather than just clinging on to my current position.