5 Reasons Why Failure Is Just The Beginning
It’s over, you’ve bottled it, and the ashes in your mouth taste horrendous. It feels as if the world finally knows how pathetic and useless you really are, and everyone’s laughing at you. You’ve failed. Your third-grade teacher’s theatrical sighs ring in your ears, followed shortly by her now-proven-true prediction: “You’ll never amount to anything.”
Failure. We fear it because it hurts. It dents our egos and makes us vulnerable to the pointed barbs of others. But if you feel like a failure, first ask yourself this: How did I fail? Because if you gave it your all, if you put your heart and your soul on the line and fate simply decided against you, you shouldn’t be all that concerned. Here’s why.
You didn’t really fail. You just discovered a way that didn’t work.
Straight from the horse’s mouth. A horse named Thomas Edison (OK, not a horse, but the genius inventor) who failed numerous times over the course of his lifetime. Edison had a pragmatic view of failure: every failure provided information, and eventually, all that information would provide the basis for his success. “Many of life’s failures,” Edison is recorded as saying, “are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up.”
Real failure is to be content with failure.
You only really fail if you accept that you have failed. And the real treat is that no one can decide this except you. If you’re alive, you can try, and no one can tell you differently. “When I was young,” wrote George Bernard Shaw, “I observed that nine out of ten things I did were failures. So I did ten times more work.”
Being successful without failing first just doesn’t feel right.
How much fun could it possibly be to succeed all the time? Would you even know what success felt like, if it was all you had? Failure provides both a helpful reality check and a counterpoint to success. The champagne tastes that much sweeter when you’ve really earned it.
You’re never a failure unless you blame others.
Taking responsibility for your failures enables you to learn from them. How often in society do we see the buck getting passed, with no one willing to stand up and admit their error? It takes a brave person to face the music, to shoulder the disappointment or scorn of others. But that attitude can only bring success in the long term, as it breeds the strength necessary to persevere.
Failure is an event, not a person.
If you fail at something, your failure doesn’t define you. You are just as unique and able to make a difference as you’ve always been, so why take it personally? If anything, your failure tells you something positive about yourself. Consider the words of Woody Allen: “If you’re not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative.”