When it comes to failing or failure, our minds tend to do two things. The first is that it creates a negative association to failure. We see failure as something bad or unwanted. Second, failing makes many of us believe that it’s time to quit. The more we fail at something, the more we are convinced that we were never meant to be doing it.
And although there is some wisdom in viewing failures as warning signs that we might be doing something wrong… there is greater wisdom in understanding why the failure exists in the first place.
Failure tends to make us focus on whether or not we are capable of achieving something. Instead, it should make us focus on why we failed in the first place. We often make a small situation larger than it needs to be.
If your car suddenly stopped in the middle of the road, on your way to the supermarket… would you decide that you are no longer capable of making trips to the supermarket, or would you try to figure out why the car stopped?
It’s not the end of the world. Obviously, you will investigate why the car stopped.
Focusing on failure in this way will greatly improve how you overcome adversity or challenges. We often dramatize setbacks by closely associating those failures to ourselves in some unforgiving and unhealthy way. Many times this leads to us attacking our goals, our visions as though they were directly responsible for causing the setbacks we encounter.
It sounds crazy, and it is. But this is a real challenge that most people pursuing goals face. They internalize failure. They turn failure into some kind of identity. This is one of the reasons why many don’t have self-confidence. And why they even use negative words to describe themselves like “I can’t. I couldn’t. Not for me. I don’t have. I’m not that good. I’m not that talented… etc”.
Embracing failure as a sign that you aren’t capable of winning, is a sure way to convince your mind that you can never win.
Instead, you should embrace failure as feedback. Stop thinking that everything you do for the first time, should work out without issue. Stop fantasizing about flawless pursuits of success. You are new to this. Why would you believe that you can flawlessly achieve that which you set out to achieve FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME?
Every idea you put out to the world must receive feedback from the world. Stop expecting that feedback to always validate your efforts. Sometimes you just didn’t do it right. Sometimes you just didn’t put in enough effort. Sometimes, you just got the timing wrong.
Failing shouldn’t make you reconsider your vision or goals. Failing should make you reconsider your efforts.
Our past experiences have everything to do with how we perceive failure. In school, not doing well will have teachers alienating us from the rest of class. In our communities, not becoming rich and successful will make others think less of us.
All this creates a fear of failing.
An irrational fear but a strong fear.
A fear so great, that many of us dedicate our whole lives to avoid experiencing this failure.
A person will not make the jump to entrepreneurship because of the fear that they might fail to get their business off the ground.
A person will not explore his/her curiosity in drawing because of the fear that people will laugh at their work.
This practically affects every aspect of our lives. We choose careers based on fears rather than desires. We get into relationships based on fears. We make life choices based on fears.
Fears of failing.
But the funny thing is that we can never validate those fears of failure.
For instance, the person who decides to not pursue entrepreneurship because of the fear of failure will never be able to know if they would have failed.
For the person that does become an entrepreneur and does fail… they realize that failing is not the end of the world. So they note down whatever it is that caused the failure and make sure to avoid making the same mistake again.
That last part is important. This is why there is wisdom in failure. This is why there is GROWTH in failure. Had it not been for the failure, you may have never known or learned something valuable.
A lot of what successful people know is a result of how much they have failed. I personally find it risky to go through a pursuit without experiencing failures. The reason is that failures strengthen and prepare you to deal with changes.
If you build a business for 10 years without experiencing any type of setback, what will you do in the 11th year when a problem does occur? With no prior experience in dealing with such issues, you might freeze. Worst case scenario is that you allow that setback to destroy what you have built. The best case scenario is that you hire someone who is experienced in dealing with such matters to save the day.
I’m not saying that you should go around looking for failure.
But when you do come across it, take it as feedback. The feedback is intended to help you grow in some way. The feedback is often vital in helping you make more progress towards your goals.
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