When I watched this video from a younger, head-hairier Jeff Bezos I was inspired by what he called Regret Minimization Framework – the idea that we weigh our decisions not on what whether we think we’ll succeed or fail, but on how deeply we’d regret not doing it… even if we ended up failing anyway! It’s such a freeing way to look at life because it changes the definition of success. It’s no longer about winning or getting it right the first, second, or third time. Instead, it’s about pursing that which makes us the fullest versions of ourselves. And, by the same definition, failure doesn’t carry the same weight as it normally would. Honestly, if you fail in the dogged pursuit of your work in the world, then you have not failed. There is no failure in the pursuit of truth. There are lessons to learn, adjustments to make, critiques to embrace… but not failure. Not that it takes the bite out of those moments… in fact, “failing” (especially publically) at something you care deeply about is a uniquely painful experience. But in this sense, even the most public failures may bite you, but they do not devour you.
It’s like Susan Jeffers says in her book Feel the Fear… and Do It Anyway, fear is a normal part of life. Fear of failing, fear of succeeding… fear of drying up and disintegrating into nothing! Rational or not, the fear will always be there. So sit with it. Get to know it. And then do the good work anyway.
What in your life would you regret not trying at more than trying & failing?