Nine times out of ten, most people are stalled in beginning an endeavour by fear of failure.

Whether it be a starting a business, changing of career, taking that long overdue trip of ‘self-discovery’ or even exiting a toxic relationship, fear of the unknown can stop us in our tracks.

With this in mind, it’s ironic that we accept most simple realities like knowing that not everything will work out on the first attempt or that the best way of learning is to learn by doing.

If this is indeed so, then shouldn’t we ask ourselves – or relearn – to accept unsuccessful attempts as lessons rather than failure? I firmly believe that true failure is failing to find a lesson in our unsuccessful attempt, and not being able to see the reasons behind our mistakes. Essentially our common “failure” is but a learning curve.

As a programmer approaches a new project, there are several inevitable realities that need to be accepted.

The first version of the program will not work, though we will soldier on make changes and recompile over and over for as long as it takes until we finally achieve the desired results.

Usually there are new concepts that we should implement that we know little about. The reasonable and sensible thing to do is to conduct research in order to gain understanding and start implementing.

Simply put, we need to get over our fear of failure; we need to know and accept that not everything will work out on the first attempt, and just as in computer programming our life plans have to go through a debugging process, constantly under review as circumstances change.

This can never happen unless you take the risk! As Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.”

Written by Botshelo Diale

This story is part of a regular series written for by students of WeThinkCode_, a revolutionary new teaching college in downtown Johannesburg, reflecting on what it’s like to be a young technologist starting out in South Africa today. Find out more about WeThinkCode_ here.

[Image: Ian Burt]