Life is a treacherous balancing act of commitments, work, growth, love, friendships and life admin. We are taught to be our best and try our best from a young age, but sometimes in life no matter what we put in we are set up for failure. They could be as simple as making it somewhere on time to more complex problems such as failing an exam or failing at a relationship, whatever failures come our way it is important to know that failure isn’t the end of the world and instead should be celebrated as a time of growth and learning. If you keep making the same mistakes, then it could be time to take a step back and reassess your way of doing things or to look at if perhaps you are biting of more than you can chew at work or in your home life.
The simple truth is you will fail a lot in your life but it is what you do after those failures that will determine where life takes you. Here’s some food for thought the next time you are feeling down on yourself for failing at a task, remember it is not all doom and gloom, it’s OK to fail and here’s why.
You learn valuable life lessons
I don’t know if you are like me but I am stubborn as hell, you could tell me something of substance and I would still need to experience it myself to understand the situation fully. Let me tell you, this personality trait is both a blessing and a curse. The positive is that I give people the benefit of the doubt always, I will not be guided by other people’s distrust of someone or not do something because someone had a bad experience doing that thing, I am the type of person that if you tell me something is hot I would need to touch it to make sure. The negative is that if I trusted in other people more and took on their advice I probably would have saved myself a lot of time, energy (and burnt fingers) but the way I see it is everything is a life lesson and though it didn’t always run smoothly or go to plan I took lessons from it that ensured a) I never made the same mistake twice and b) that I grew from the experience whether it was good or bad.
Failure will ensure a new found motivation
There is nothing quite like the spike in motivation you get when someone tells you that you can’t do something or that you will fail, it triggers something in our brains that then takes us on a journey to prove that person wrong, our fight or flight mechanism kicks in and we think “who the hell are you to tell me I can’t do this?” and we move heaven and earth to show them that we can indeed do exactly what they said we couldn’t. If you believe that failure isn’t an option, then it really isn’t. You will continue to strive to be the best at whatever it is you have failed at and keep trying until you get it right, I believe as humans that is one of our greatest qualities.
Failure causes us to innovate and think of new ways to do things
As the saying goes, if at first you don’t succeed then try, try again. Failure is just the stepping stone to getting it right so if it seems like you have failed then take a step back and think about how you could have done things differently. So you had an unsuccessful outcome, then implement those changes and you are on your way to making your failure a win!
Failure will inevitably make you stronger
Failure is inevitable, in life you are going to fail at something and that is completely OK. Look at some of the greatest success stories in business, these people failed many times over but do you know what separated them? They didn’t give up, they found a new strength and a new way of getting this done which propelled them to greatness and there is no reason that you can’t do the same. Did you know that J.K Rowling the author of Harry Potter was once a single-mother suffering from depression without a dollar to her name, no one would publish Harry Potter and she was at wits end, Harry Potter went on to be one of the most successful books in history and she is now one of the richest woman in Britain. And what about the success story of Steve Jobs who dropped out of university after one semester and quit his first job to backpack around India, he was ousted from his own company he helped build before returning 11 years later and changing the world as we know it.
In his famous 2005 commencement speech at Stanford, Jobs said "I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life."
The list is endless of people who have had major setback and debilitating blows to their confidence, but there is one thing these visionaries had in common and that was that they never gave up. They funneled the failures, the disappointments and the disasters and made right what went wrong last time.
Recovering from failure can be emotionally grueling but if you see failure to your advantage you will be the best of you have ever been, try to be this person below when failure comes knocking on your door.
- They accept failure (and can recognize their own mistakes)
- They compartmentalise their emotions (they don't internalise bad feelings)
- They have a bias toward action (responding aggressively to a challenge)
- They change their minds sometimes (the need to discard old thinking and reprogram a dream)
- They prepare for things to go wrong (rebounders are not necessarily optimists)
- They're comfortable with discomfort (they're willing to accept inconveniences as long as it leads them closer to an important goal)
- They're willing to wait (overnight success is deceptively untrue)
- They have heroes (rebounders set and meet higher standards when inspired by others)
- They have more than passion (success requires drive too)
Don’t be hard on yourself, success, empowerment, that promotion, they don’t just come over night and you may fall more than you fly, but it will come, failure is only for a moment and you will soon learn to fly again and make your failures your greatest achievement by using them to grow and learn.
Image credit: Photo by Jeremy Perkins