THE BLOG
02/26/2016 12:42 pm ET Updated Feb 26, 2017

Why Failure Is an Illusion: Life, Death and Selfishness

How funny to hear the words "but what if you fail?" from a friend.

This question was in response to me discussing a not-for-profit venture: an online magazine I created, purely because it was something I wanted to do. The question didn't bother me, really. I just found it interesting.

The one thing I know for sure is this: If I have tried, I have not failed. My options are either delving into whatever piques my interest, or staying safe and trying nothing -- and surely that is the truest form of failure?

Maybe it's just me, but I always go back to that frightening old d-word. You know, the one that's been around forever. The one that affects every single person on the planet, bar none. You guessed it -- death. It's so odd that death is something we avoid discussing, when it's such an important part of living.

I have perhaps 80 years in total on this planet, how on earth could I ever truly "fail"? Sure, I could have projects that weren't as successful as I would have liked. Or projects that were complete flops. But what will that matter in the long run? By long run, I mean the super long run. You know, when I'm dead.

One of my favorite quotes is from Steve Jobs, who said, "Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."

It's never going to matter if I "fail," according to society's definition of the word. In 100 years time, perhaps my name will be mentioned once or twice by a great grandchild, if I'm lucky. I doubt they'll say, "Oh, Nanny Mills, you know -- she was the one who tried things and failed."

Apart from that, I'm dust. So what matters? Nothing, except whatever the heck I'm doing right now; regardless of outcome.

There's a lot to be said for living selfishly. Yes, selfishly. As in "It's my life. What the heck makes me enjoy it? That's what I need more of. That's what I'm going to fill it with."

Can you imagine going your whole life avoiding the things that you love, for fear of "failing" in front of a small handful of the 7 billion people who happen to cohabitate the planet at the same time as you? They'll be dead, too. Seriously, who gives a toss.

I choose to forget failure and be selfish. Fearlessly selfish.