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You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” – Babe Ruth

No matter how it’s said or by whom, there’s a common thread that carries through these and many other revered words and common adages: although you may stumble on your journey, focus on your progress and not on your missteps.

Despite repeating these phrases to ourselves and others, we’re still so scared of making and admitting to mistakes. We let them cloud over our vision and judgement, perseverating on what we’ve done wrong instead of what we’ve done right. However, if we get stuck on these mistakes and let them hinder our progress, or we get to paralyzed by fear to even try in the first place, how can we ever expect to succeed? How can we ever better ourselves and overcome these personal obstacles that stand in our way? Don’t be afraid to take risks that may not pay off – you’ll never know which path is the correct one until you give it a try.

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison

If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again.” – William Edward Hickson

We need to stop letting the mistakes we make define us and hold us back from making progress. Sure, you messed up. You failed. Something went wrong, and you feel like you screwed up. The first step is acknowledging that fact and taking ownership of it. You’ve found a way that won’t work. You tried, and you weren’t successful. Now it’s time to dust off your shoes, pick yourself up, and try again.

Look at the so-called ‘failures’ as lessons you learned along the way to achieving success. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you won’t be, either. Learning how to hit your stride and become successful is a process of trial and error that takes time to develop and actualize. Your journey will continue at its own pace, so don’t let the bumps along the way fool you into believing you aren’t cut out for the trip.