Today, I want to explore why it’s important to welcome failure in your life. Additionally, I will cover the best ways to deal with failure so that you can bounce back quickly.
My Journeys With Failure
I’ve been a failure my whole life because I’ve tried. If you wish to improve as an individual by making meaningful progress in your life, then you must become well-acquainted with losing. If there is no possibility of failure, then we are not challenging ourselves.
For example, I’ve failed in all walks of life from dating to job hunting to making time to brush my teeth. Each time I failed, I gave my full effort, learned where my limitations were, and adjusted my behavior, so success was more likely the next time I tired.
And that’s the beauty of failure. When we can’t meet the goals we set for ourselves, we gain the knowledge of where we went wrong and what we have to adjust. When I couldn’t keep a daily drawing schedule, I had to analyze my behaviors and the realities of my life. I looked at how much time I wasted looking at my phone or playing games. I also recognized how becoming a father limited my free time. By failing to keep up with my drawing schedule, I had a better picture of what time I had, what time I wasted, and how best to meet my daily drawing goal.
However, had I not tried to set such a strict goal, I may not have realized how much time I waste. Or how to recognize the importance of some activities over others. That’s why we should give an honest effort to accomplish great goals in our lives. However, it is essential to learn how to fail intelligently, as well as how to overcome failure with maturity and grace. In the following paragraphs, I want to go over the best ways to deal with failure, bounce back, and excel.
How To Fail Intelligently
First things first – failure can teach you a lot about yourself and your limitations. However, you want to fail intelligently. You should never set impossible goals that you have no chance of accomplishing. Living dangerously or setting unrealistic expectations will undermine your ability to enjoy a fruitful and meaningful life.
Let me go back to my drawing example. I wanted to draw every day for two hours. However, I consistently kept missing this goal. Through journaling, I was able to take a step back and gain a deeper appreciation of everything. On the one hand, I noted the ways I could better utilize my time. However, I had to accept that becoming a new father, working a 9 to 5, and taking care of my health blocked off a lot of my free time.
I failed intelligently by setting a realistic goal. When I couldn’t meet that goal, I gracefully accepted that I needed to adjust my expectations and embrace my responsibilities. I could have beaten my head against the wall, stuck with my original plan, and kept trying to push forward. However, I would have been disappointed by my consistent inability to find the time to sit and draw.
We fail intelligently when we set realistic goals and listen to the results. Never seek the impossible but welcome the possibility of success, be mature about your journey, and always hold your head high. There is a difference between trying to win and seeking to lose: the former will elevate you to greatness, the latter will drain you of your willpower as you fail to progress time and time again.
How To Emotionally Overcome Failure
Now, we can logically accept the downsides of failure but what about our emotions? One reason why people avoid growth is that they cannot handle the emotional turmoil that comes with losing. Luckily, there are a few ways we can train ourselves to withstand the crushing blow failure can deliver.
Be honest – failure will always suck.
Failure is not fun. Setting a goal, working your ass off, and still falling short despite your best efforts will sting. Such a blow can bring even the most robust personalities down. That’s why you need to be honest about losing. Don’t slap a fake smile on everything – be upfront about your disappointment.
Our emotions are not our enemies, but they are dangerous. It’s important to listen to them, but you must keep them under strict control. Yes, you should control any anger, sadness, or frustration that may come from losing, but you should not deny your feelings.
Responding with anger, sadness, or disappointment means your goals are meaningful. The healthy mind responds negatively when adverse events happen, but the strong mind creates solutions to resolve any failures. For example, if you like someone, ask them out, but if they turn you down, then you should feel disappointed. However, the stronger individual reflects on potential personal shortcomings – maybe you dress too poorly or don’t have the finances to impress the other person. Either way, if you’re strong, you’ll create a game plan, improve yourself, and find someone else to ask out.
In conclusion, recognize that when you try and fall short, you will experience negative emotions. However, you need to control your feelings and force them to point you toward virtue. Have you failed at your goal? Your anger will propel you forward as you set new goals and win at them every time. Have you lost a date? Your disappointment will help you create a list of ways you can improve and become more attractive. Didn’t get that job? Let your sadness help you reflect on your shortcomings before focusing on ways to upgrade your skills and professionalism.
Be confident – the better your fail, the higher you can bounce back
Failure isn’t fun, but you need to keep your head high. The more confident you are in yourself and your abilities, the more you can push past failures with grace and ease.
Confidence is built by living a noble and impressive life. No, I’m not talking about making a lot of money or having tons of friends or a whole bunch of likes on social media. A remarkable life is a virtuous life that is lived honestly, consistently, and purposefully. When you live a better life by being kind to others, learning skills, growing your virtue, and controlling your demons, you will become more confident in who you are and what you can do.
And this confidence leads to being able to deal with failure with more grace and skill. When I was looking to change jobs, I applied to a variety of places. Many businesses rejected me, and this failure didn’t sting. Why? Because I understood my worth and value. I was working hard, learning new skills, and proved to be capable at many things including financial responsibility. Plus, I had other offers lining up.
I’m not saying there weren’t things I could improve upon such as my ego and attitude, but I was and continue to be a capable individual. While not flawless, I have rational pride in my actions and accomplishments, and this confidence enables me to handle any shortcomings smoothly.
Fail well: Some things may not be for you
Failure teaches us valuable lessons about ourselves and what we may or may not be capable of. Sometimes, we fail because we lack the passion or raw talent needed to succeed. In these scenarios, it’s crucial to either scale back our expectations or stop pursuing the goals we have set.
No matter what you set your eyes on, you will never learn or do everything. It’s a hard reality to accept, but when we face reality with a clear mind, we can excel within the confines of our world. For example, I can’t fix cars to save my life. I’ve tried time and again to do everything from brake replacement to tire repairs and oil changes, but I’m all thumbs. My failed attempts at fixing cars have taught me two things:
Firstly, I have no interest in repairing cars. Pushing myself to learn a skill I’m not invested in will simply waste time. Secondly, I’m just not very good at it. I’m not limited by my intelligence or physical abilities. I simply can’t grasp the material. Therefore, it’s more preferable to pay a mechanic to resolve any car issues I have.
My failure at fixing cars shows me that being a mechanic isn’t for me. However, I have skills and talents in other areas of life. Thus, I can shrug at my shoulders at not being an excellent mechanic. Remember, not everyone can be a nuclear scientist, a competent janitor, an all-star athlete, or a famous actor. Failure can help us understand that we should adjust our expectations about what is and what is not possible.
How To Act In The Face Of Failure – Have A Plan Ready
When being hit with failure, it’s essential to bounce back with maturity and passion. Losing shouldn’t lock you in place or destroy your confidence. Failure should spur you into action and towards greatness. By having systems, habits, and goals in place, you’ll be able to maturely deal with failure.
Failure can cause anxiety and grief if we aren’t prepared. On the one hand, you have to be ready for the possibility of losing. If you’re unable to meet a goal and succeed, then what are you going to do? Understanding and planning your response before you meet potential disaster will help you respond better than if you didn’t have a plan.
Develop Your Why To Help You Move Through Failures
Lastly, you have to understand the “why” behind your goals. Let’s say you want to ask someone out, but you get rejected. Why did you want to ask that person out? To be with someone of virtue. If you were turned down, then you know you need to build virtue. When you have the “why,” i.e., to be with someone of virtue, you can focus on your “how” even if you get turned down. The “how” is to be a virtuous person so that you can attract virtuous individuals. See how this works? With your “why” in place, you have your plan, i.e., your “how” which gives you a purpose greater than your momentary loss.
As stated before, you need to have magnanimous goals. If you’re asking someone out because you want sex or because you feel lonely, then you will respond more negatively to failure. Ensure your goals are virtuous and long-term by avoiding goals that will not improve you as an individual.
Failure Is An Amazing Teacher That Will Help You Grow And Achieve
Progress only comes when we fail. If we’re always winning, then we won’t have anything new to learn and our ego will become inflated. We don’t know everything, and if we step out of our comfort zone, we are going to stumble and fall.
If I want to learn how to draw, then I will have to accept that my hands will look like crap. This is a failure. But, through emotional control, confidence, and planning, I can continue forward and learn how to draw by being tenacious and consistent.
By adopting the techniques described above, I’m confident you’ll overcome your fear of failure, just like I overcame mine.
- What was the last failure you can think of? Did you miss a job opportunity or forgot to wash the dishes? How did you feel and how did you respond?
- Take a list of a few recent failures. How do you think your life would be different if you had succeeded? Did you learn anything from these failures?
- Of the failures on your list, which ones can you overcome and compensate for in the future?
- Now, finish by listing your recent successes whether it’s going to work or publishing a book. How do you feel about these successes? Why were you successful? For example, did you have a certain system in place that made leaving for work easier?
Please remember that it’s important to do the actionables. You’re not on this earth to simply read but to do. To become an individual, you must act more than you consume.
*Image credit to Unsplash.