Failure is an important part of life and there is often a lot of negative stigma surrounding it. In life there are a lot of disappointments, you ask for a pay rise or promotion at work and you get knocked back, you ask a potential love interest out on a date and they say no, you don’t get the exam results you were hoping for, you go for an interview, but you do not get the job, life is full of these moments; but the good news is they’re not fatal. In most cases, it turns out that not getting what you wanted can be a good thing because you go on to be successful in a different way, it turns out that you get a better job, or you find someone else who is more compatible for you, nevertheless, when you are stuck in the midst of these moments, it feels fatal or even final, especially after a series of knock-backs. Take a moment to look back over your life, recall both your failures and successes. Looking back is proof that you can survive these moments, failure isn’t fatal, and you can go on to succeed; in fact, failure is good for you.
What is Success?
Before I start explaining how failure is good for you, it’s important to understand that how you define success will ultimately affect how you define failure. What does success look like for you? For some people success is, having a six-figure income, finding the man of your dreams, writing a best-selling novel, or becoming a successful blogger. When you define success as a destination you start to feel unhappy and feel like you are making no progress because your goal is looming far off in the distance. If you shift your focus off the grand scale goal and onto the actionable steps that are required to achieve the goal, you will begin to notice the tiny successes or wins that you are achieving on a daily basis. Success could be asking for a raise at work, getting back into the dating game after being hurt, finally finishing a 100,000-word novel, or consistently producing quality content on your blog. Recognising, these tiny wins, can be a huge motivator, and inspire you to go on to achieve your goals.
How do you define failure?
How you view success goes hand in hand with how do you view failure. Many people fall into the trap of viewing failure as a final fixed point or the end of something. We all have this innate tendency to focus on the grand scale dreams or goals and forget about the tiny steps in between. If you don’t achieve that six figure income, haven’t found the man of your dreams, the novel you wrote doesn’t make it to the top of the charts, or you only get a handful of subscribers to your blog; does this mean you have failed? You can become so afraid of failure that the fear of failure itself could paralyse you, and prevent you from taking action. This fear builds to a place where we imagine or believe that our failures are witnessed by the people we share our lives with, but usually, that isn’t the case. Your failures have an audience of one; very rarely can people recall the moments that don’t go right for you. More often than not, you replay these moments over, and over again, and fall into despair. Is failure really the end? Is failure a message to indicate something isn’t right?
Failure is Evidence of Growth
Perspective is what separates successful people from those that give up to soon. Start seeing failure for what it really is. Failure is evidence of growth. It means you have stepped outside your comfort zone and refused to play it safe. Anyone who has ever achieved a goal or dream has failed at some point and usually more than once. Walt Disney, the creator of the global business empire; was surprisingly fired from his first job because ‘he wasn’t creative enough.’ J K Rowling’s harry potter manuscript received endless rejections by publishers. Steve Jobs was fired by apple, a company he founded but later re-joined and turned Apple into one of the most successful technology and computer organisations in the world. Bill Gates, the co-founder and chairman of Microsoft, dropped out of Harvard to set up his first business, Traf-O-Data which suffered significant losses for six years before it closed. None of these people gave up at their first point of failure; they kept striving towards their goal. Like you, I too have experience moments of failure. I have been blogging since January 2011, and I have tried many different topics and had many different blogs until I found a niche that I was passionate about. I started out in travel and photography, tried relationship before I started my personal development blog. I learned something very valuable after each moment of failure.
Failure is an opportunity to look within
Life is a journey and, unfortunately, many people get caught up fixating on a destination or waiting for the perfect time to start or when we have everything we need. It’s so easy to get caught up, fearing failure, and as a result not taking any action. Not stepping out of your comfort zone and not taking action is a form of failure in itself. Failure is an important part of the human experience that gives you a unique opportunity to look within ourselves and discover what we are doing right, and where we need to make changes. Ask yourself, what actionable steps have I taken toward this goal? If you haven’t taken any steps the easiest step to take is to find out who else has achieved the same or a similar goal. What steps did they take? How can you apply this to your situation? The key is to get started and focus on the first five small steps that you need to take instead of focusing in on a grand goal. In moments of failure, it is important to consider what went wrong and consider the reason why, then go on to ask yourself, how can I improve on this?
Failure is good for you and is a key ingredient to success. If you never failed at something you would never learn or grow. In the moment, it feels like it’s the end of something, but it’s a message letting you know that something isn’t right; more importantly it’s evidence of growth, and an opportunity to look within and try a new approach.
Are you fearful of failure? Is there a moment of failure that has helped you learn and grow that you would like to share? I want to hear from you please do so by starting or joining in with the discussion below. Thank you for reading, sharing and commenting with such kindness and enthusiasm.