Jordan eventually became one of the greatest basketball players ever. In the 1990s, he led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships. He made 14 All-Star teams and won two Olympic gold medals.
But during his career, Jordan—a basketball legend—missed 12,000 shots and lost more than 300 games. “I’ve failed over and over again in my life, and that is why I succeed,” Jordan said in a Nike ad.
If that sounds crazy to you, you’re not alone. Most of us fear failure. We don’t participate in class discussions because we worry that we’ll say something stupid, and we’d rather pass the ball than take a shot we might miss.
Our fear of failure isn’t surprising. From an early age, we are constantly surrounded by people who value perfection. Parents and other family members encourage us to bring home A’s, and coaches teach us to go for the gold, not the silver or bronze. On social media, people share the coolest parts of their lives but usually keep their struggles to themselves.