Before we go any further, let’s be clear: everybody experienced, experiences or will experience failure. If you’re currently beating yourself up for failing, you are NOT alone. Failure is essential to growth.
Failure is disappointing; it can be shameful and painful; on occasion even devastating, but don’t let it fool you. Failure is the fertilizer for success. That’s what failure is! Exceedingly few succeed right out of the gate. The rest of us walk from failure to failure until we master the art of succeeding.
Against popular belief failure isn’t a definition of a person or social stigma.
“Remember that failure is an event, not a person.” Zig Ziglar
There are lessons to be learned from failing. We both know that you won’t make the same mistakes, twice.
“If you learn from defeat, you haven’t really lost.” Zig Ziglar
Failed? Cut your losses. Focus on what you are and what you have. Be grateful for it. Make a list of things you’ve done wrong. What could you have done better? What did you learn? What stops you from moving forward? Provide honest answers, not excuses: after all, you’re making this list for your eyes, only.
“Opportunities” to fail are everywhere. You could have failed at school, socially, at work, in a relationship, at a project, at a venture, as a parent, child, sibling or friend. Every failure hurts. But a failure is a life lesson, not a life sentence.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill
“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” Michael Jordan
“Success isn’t permanent and failure isn’t fatal.” Mike Ditka
Pretending that failure didn’t affect you may not be a wise strategy. Being invincible works well in comic books; in real life, vulnerability works better.
Share your failure with people who care about you! Tell them how hard you tried to make things work. How disappointed you are that they didn’t. Share what you lost and what you regret. Emphasize what it is that you learned. You’ll be surprised by their reactions: you are likely find empathy and support. (After all, who didn’t fail?…)
Did your world implode? Can’t imagine that you’ll ever recover? Lost too much? Are too old? For as long as you’re alive, it is always possible to start over.
“Success is not built on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes it’s built on catastrophe.” Sumner Redstone
Obviously, failure remedies vary depending on specifics. But failure isn’t the end. In fact, it usually signals the beginning of something new and often, better.
Your ego may have taken a beating. It happens.
• Write down your greatest accomplishments. Take a good look at the list. Could a loser have such impressive achievements? I don’t think so, do you?
• What value did you contribute to other people? Did you help someone in need?… Real losers are selfish, you are not.
• Did other people help you on your way? Why? Because they believed in you!
Think about the person you’ve just described. Seems like a winner to me.
Let’s imagine the very worst kind of failure. Losing everything: family, home, car and a job. There is pain, there is a period of mourning and chaos. But after that there is also a new day: re-prioritizing, reassessing, reevaluating. There is the opportunity to change direction.
So get up and flush the water on your failure! Scale down, adjust or change your direction, put your nose to the grind, and start either re-building or building anew! Yes, you — the you that survived, learned and reevaluated — you can do it!
“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” Johnny Cash
History books are full of repeat losers. Today’s greats (including the “overnight successes”!) have a history of failures that preceded their success.
“You always pass failure on your way to success.” Mickey Rooney
Even if everything you had turned into ashes; even if you believe that your dreams may never come true there is a way to reboot, start anew and SUCCEED. Does it mean you’ll recover all you lost? Maybe not, maybe you’ll recover a version of you had. Maybe, you’ll create more and better you’ve ever had. Will your dreams come true, literally? Perhaps not. Perhaps — in this case, too — a version of them will. Perhaps the new versions will be better than you hoped for in the first place?
“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” Denis Waitley
Losers are those who do nothing or stop trying after failing.
So you failed. No matter how you feel right now, we both know that you won’t accept failure as the final outcome of your pursuit. Think and act like the winner you are. Success is not for sissies, but survivors: those who learned from every failure and applied the hard-won lessons.
Don’t give up on your dream, continue the good fight, victory is imminent.
“Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure.” George Edward Woodberry
No butterfly was born a butterfly. Every butterfly EVOLVES into one by enduring stages of growth and being an egg, larva and pupa before emerging as a beautiful butterfly. There isn’t one butterfly out there that was able to skip the process of becoming…
There are no real winners out there who didn’t have to learn how to survive and master failure, either.
You weren’t cursed. You are not unlucky. You are certainly not a loser. The pain you feel is growth and brings you closer to success.
“Failure doesn’t kill you… it increases your desire to make something happen.” Kevin Costner
Own Your Failure is one of a series of articles on feelings that impede our growth and rob us of joy. Feelings often own us. Each of the articles in this series addresses one feeling with the aim of helping you take charge and Own Your Feelings. We are here to learn, grow, succeed and be happy.
Failure does not define you! No excess baggage should prevent you from living fully. Own Your Failure and resume fighting for success!
If you liked the story follow Humanist Way, clap, respond and share!
Looking for more meaning, success and happiness? I’m a life coach: reach out!
Looking for a supportive community of shared values? Discover Humanist Church, a church WITHOUT God: pro-people, pro-Earth, pro-ethics; a Church built on values, NOT beliefs. It is led by Rev. Enrich, author of the story you just read.