How do you react when failure smacks you in the face, what emotions do you feel? If you are like most of us then you probably get depressed and get ready to just throw in the towel. Who can blame us for responding in this manner after all we just failed at something and failure is never good, right?? To really answer this question we need to take a closer look at failure and it may even involve a paradigm shift if we are going to really understand the positive side of what failure actually means. First let’s take a look at failure and why it impacts us in a negative way.
Most of us grew up getting conditioned to win, to excel, and to succeed anything short of that was to fail regardless of our endeavor or what we may have learned in the process. We need to turn this process on its head to understand that failure is nothing short of a learning process and if you subscribe to the fact that there is indeed a “school of hard knocks” then you know that failure is part of the curriculum there. Let’s take a look at how we looked at failure before the conditioning took place.
Take yourself back to being a baby unbiased by the world, the word failure did not exist for you. If you saw something you wanted you kept trying different things until you reached it; you may have attempting stretching, you may have rolled yourself closer, or even tried to crawl for the first time. The fact that you may have not succeeded did not ever deter you as you were simply discovering all the things that did not work and seeking something that would. Life truly became interesting after you became proficient at crawling. Next you learned how to stand and eventually walk. These did not happen without falling and we fell quite a bit before we mastered walking. Imagine where we would be if the first time we stumbled, the first time we fell, the first time we felt some pain we just accepted failure and threw in the towel. We would still be crawling if that much. So what happened that changed our view of failure from those days.
You guessed it we had a paradigm shift based on the opinions of people that have interacted in our lives and became convinced that people who fail are failures and that has impacted the way we look at failures. So to correct our perception of failures we need to have another paradigm shift that takes us back to the times before we were actually convinced that failures were a bad thing. Consider for a moment what failures really entail and you will quickly realize the disservice you are doing to yourself every time you try something new and it does not work. A failure in reality is just an instance of something that did not work in a particular situation. We need to look at it in terms of what did we learn from it, in terms of an opportunity to try something else, in terms of a necessity for growing. Failing simply means you have not found the answer you were in search of and it may simply mean you need to try a different approach, a different design, or a different strategy depending on what you are trying to accomplish.
Think of it in terms of sighting a gun just to use one example. Your first shot simply tells you where you are at or your starting point. You may miss the target completely but that shot is of paramount importance in order to make the necessary adjustments. Your next shot may actually be somewhere closer to the target or perhaps even on the target but not on the bullseye; again just an indication further adjustment is needed. Now you begin to fine tune your adjustments to get your next shot on the bullseye. You don’t beat yourself up over the fact that it took you 3, 4, or more shots to get your gun to hit what you were aiming at. You consider it part of the process of getting from where you were to where you wanted to be. It is no different with anything else and there is no reason to fear failure or try to eliminate it from your life altogether.
Quite the opposite we need to embrace failure as a means to bridge the gap between where you are now and where you want to be for it is an inherent part of the process. If you are looking for success be prepared to stumble, be prepared to fall, be prepared for pain, but never quit until you are where you want to be. Look at failure in terms of a means to an end, a learning and growing process, and an inevitable part of progress. Remember the old adage “if at first you don’t succeed try and try again until you do succeed” now just substitute the word “fail” for the word “try”. The word “try” just doesn’t have the same emotional impact on us as the word “fail” because we were conditioned not only “to try” but “to try our best”. So I leave you with this when your efforts don’t hit the mark make the necessary adjustments and move forward. Do not give yourself the right to fail in other words quitting is never an option in reaching any goal and the only way you will fail is if you quit.
To Your Success
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