Failing isn’t the end although many believe that it is. Life is hard, but it is only harder if you become so self-critical that you allow the pitfalls of life to stifle any forward progress. You end up staying exactly where you are and, in turn, become even more spiteful, cynical or hateful. To move beyond who you believe you are and to become what you want to be, you must be willing to use your failures not as end states but as guideposts throughout your life. Your story—your life—is as dull or as moving as you allow it to be. It provides you with choices every single day, and it is your duty to think through and to avoid what will trap you in the same place and instead to choose what will push you toward your fullest potential. Here are eight simple ways of looking at and dealing with failure to help you flip the script and transform your personal failures into your personal success story.
Playing the victim hurts less than accepting that a failure is your fault. Once you start to wholeheartedly accept that the good and the bad—the fullness and the emptiness, the happiness and the sadness—are all the results of your choices and efforts, the less you’ll feel emotionally inclined toward anger. Doing this takes the most work, but it ultimately adds the greatest richness to your life.
Inevitably, to try is to fail at some point. To complete a goal that carries true worth means that the path to that goal will likely involve episodes of failure. Once more, your job is to view these setbacks not as end states, but instead to see them as guideposts along your journey that can lead you toward success when you try again. Nowhere is it stated that failure is the end. You just need to try again and again and again. All you need to do is become 1% better than yesterday.
This is the one that primarily affects those who want to fit in with the status quo. For the average individual, anxiety and depression can be traced back to placing too much value upon the opinions of others. Whether it is someone in authority in the workplace, a person’s so-called “friends” or even family, what someone else thinks of you does not equal your worth. However, if you are going to look to an individual for counsel, make sure that this person deserves your trust and respect. This will be subjective to you and what you believe is valuable in that person. To put it simply, make sure that the people you look up to as mentors or even gurus can really help you to improve yourself in life.
For all the good in the world, there is an equal amount of bad. And for all the bad, there is an equal amount of good. One cannot exist without the other. If you are currently in a rut and feel as though going any further is pointless, just keep pushing forward another inch because the “good” is often right around the corner. It is all a test.
Most people I have come into contact with believe that they need A, B and C to get to D. In reality, however, they should think only about how to use A to get to B, B to get to C and C to get to D. This is a subtle but important distinction. Doing more with less has always been a critical part of achieving one’s goals, even though it usually takes more effort than most people are willing to give. Too often, people want better results without having to make the necessary effort, which isn’t how the world works.
To create or achieve something of value, you need to put in the necessary “groundwork” first. This often involves doing things or having jobs you may not particularly enjoy, even though this is what allows you to develop the skillsets necessary for your eventual success. And it may be weeks, months or even years until the opportunity for that success presents itself to you. But when that opportunity does arrive, you will be grateful for all the time spent suffering through the process of self-improvement, which has finally allowed you to realize your end goals.
When people fail, they all too often only see the negative in it and fail to internalize the positive lessons failure offers us. Reactions to failure such as “It’s over,” “I’m a loser” and “I should just quit” are toxic. Instead, tell yourself things such as “I need to redesign,” “This is just the beginning,” “I am capable” and “I will keep going.” It is easy to rob yourself of potential future success by dwelling obsessively on your past mistakes. Do not continue to beat yourself up over things that are over and cannot be changed. The surest way to rise above a failure is to understand what caused it so that you do not make the same mistake again. This is how you improve yourself. This is how you move forward.
This actually goes beyond just the failures you will inevitably encounter in life and also applies to much of modern society. Sadly, people today are all too eager to outsource responsibility for their safety, what they eat and what they should do with and to their bodies to someone else. Most of what has happened to you—good, bad or neutral—is due to the choices you have made. The same principle applies to what will happen to you with the rest of your life as well. If you do not want to stand still and you still want to go further, then you must ask yourself the hard questions—the ones that no one else can. “How bad do I want this?” “Do I have what it takes to keep going?” “What is my worth in this life?” Once you can answer those questions with utter confidence, you will have the resolve to rise from the ashes of your past failures and your course to success will be set.