“If It Ain’t Broke…Break It!” book reflection #5

The next three chapters deal with our fears and our failures.

One of the biggest inhibitors preventing us from taking risks and confronting the many challenges facing us is fear. Fear keeps us from turning our innovative ideas into action, from following our dreams, and from performing well under pressure. Fear prevents us from thinking clearly and creatively, and causes most of the stress we experience. Having the courage to confront your fears, to look the monster in the eye, and break the fear cycle is critical. With the release of fear, you’ll have more energy, think more clearly, and be more in control. Fear is natural, if you have no fear then you are playing too safe. Fear distorts, exaggerates, and magnifies, making everything seem worse than it is. Focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. The worst is never as bad as fear makes it seem. Turn anxiety into anticipation. Change “what if” into “if then”.

Mistakes are a good investment. When you are taking risks, learning a new skill, trying something new, developing a new idea, or challenging yourself in any situation, you will make mistakes. Learning is a combination of trial and error. Often mistakes result from inaction as much as action, with the real mistake of simply doing nothing. Passive, play-it-safe mistakes can be just as devastating as mistakes resulting from action. Apple’s Mike Markkula says, “It is failure which breeds success. Mistakes help you to rethink, reconceptualize, and restrategize.” Risk is no longer an option, it is an imperative.

One of my co-workers in the lift truck business used to say this about making mistakes; “what’s the worst that could happen, they can’t eat you!”

Reference; “If It Ain’t Broke…Break It!” by 
Robert Kriegel and Louis Patler

3 thoughts on ““If It Ain’t Broke…Break It!” book reflection #5

  1. Devon,
    I really enjoyed reading this blog post. I do believe that mistakes help us grow. Your comment about taking risks is strong as well. It’s so important to allow ourselves to experience life “outside our comfort zone.” Or, we will never grow and improve. Thanks for sharing! Jill


  2. I believe the effects of fear have passed through all of us, and a part of life is learning to deal with these fears. I am unafraid to share that I was once on anxiety medication because I was not controlling my fears. The medication itself was making me fall asleep in class, my grades were dropping, and I did not have the same energy I once had. I began to see a sport psychologist, and we listed out all the feelings that come with my fears and my adrenaline reaction to my fears. I was always in a fight or flight mode, and I never performed with a clear mind. I had to COMPLETELY retrain my thoughts. Instead of, “what if I fail”, I turned it into “I will succeed” and envisioned the best possible outcome. I’ve learned, sometimes the fear of failure is actually more hindering than the fall itself. I’m sure it is consistent with the book to say “JUST GO FOR IT!”. Believing in yourself goes a long way!


  3. Devon,
    I enjoy reading your post; it was short and to the point. I completely agree with your assessment on the impact of fears. I think fear can keep us from reaching our dreams and goals if we worry too much about the “what ifs.” While some fears might be real concerns, the reality is many are non-issues that we exaggerate within our heads. I must say that since starting the ME program, I have overcome several fears. This has been a difficult thing to process since I tend to be a perfectionist, but it is a work in progress.
    I also enjoy reading your comment on inaction. In the aviation industry we do a lot of development planning and every single plan includes a “do nothing” scenario. The reason why a “do nothing” scenario is included in planning is to evaluate the negative impacts, since we already know something needs to be done, it’s just a matter of evaluating viable (and non-viable) options.
    Great post Devon!
    -Jose F. Saavedra


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