One of my favorite lines of The Matrix (which is unbelievably 16 years old) is when Morpheus says to Neo: “I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it”.
I believe this profound statement is the difference between people who succeed and those who always look at success from the sidelines. I believe that opportunity presents itself as an open door all the time but we’re too afraid to walk through it.
Going through doors means taking risks. Taking risks means that there’s a chance of failure. I think we need to stop being afraid of failure—at least as it is traditionally defined. Failure only happens if we let it. Instead, if we mess up and keep trying, then I don’t consider that failure at all. I consider that learning.
As children we “fail” constantly. Imagine the process of learning to walk—kids really struggle with it, and often walk around like small drunks—constantly falling over, stumbling, leaning against things to steady themselves. Children (unlike drunks) just keep pushing until their body & brain perfect the process. They do it until no longer even a thing they think about.
Why do we lose that magic as we grow older? I know I’m guilty of this line of thinking but I’m working to stop. For example, I want to start practicing yoga, but I’m intimidated by the first couple of times I’d go to a studio. I worry that others will judge me for having bad form, struggling to hold every position, or even wearing the wrong clothes. This is silly—in fact, this is the real failure: The failure of not even trying to do it.
Opportunities in business and in life are available all the time. The people that succeed and really change the world are those that walk through the door that opens because they have that child-like view of the world. They are willing to take the risk, fall down a lot, but get back up knowing that the reward is great.
Startups that disrupt industries or old processes do it because their founders believed in a world that was totally different than how it exists today. They not only imagined it, they took all the steps necessary to make it a reality. That's ridiculously awesome... and a truly magical thing.
Don’t be your own worst enemy. Don’t be afraid of walking through open doors. You never know what amazing things lie on the other side.