Today, I want to explore why it’s essential to welcome failure in your life. Additionally, I will cover how to deal with failure and to bounce back from any setbacks.
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.
I’ve failed at everything, from dating and job hunting to brushing 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 tried.
For example, 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. My failure gave me the tools I needed to improve.
How To Fail Intelligently
First things first – failure can teach you a lot about yourself and your limitations. However, you want to fail intelligently. 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. Why? I had more work, family, and health responsibilities. Therefore, I accepted I needed to adjust my expectations.
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.
How do you fail intelligently? By setting realistic goals and listening to the results. 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? We avoid personal growth because we cannot handle the emotional turmoil of losing. Luckily, there are a few ways we can train ourselves to withstand the crushing blow failure can deliver.
1. Be honest – failure will always suck.
Failure is not fun. Setting a goal, working your ass off, and still falling short will sting. Therefore, you need to be honest about losing. You should never slap a fake smile on everything – be upfront about your disappointment.
Our emotions are not our enemies, but they are dangerous. 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 a 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.
2. 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.
With more confidence, you can skillfully deal with failure. For example, 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 and learning new skills. 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. However, I was and continue to be a capable individual. While not flawless, I have rational pride in my actions and accomplishments. This confidence enables me to handle any shortcomings smoothly.
3. Fail well: Some things may not be for you
Failure teaches us valuable lessons about 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 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. I waste my time when I try to have a passion for something irrelevant.
- Secondly, I’m not skilled at car repair. My intelligence or physical abilities do not limit me. I can’t grasp the material. Therefore, it’s better to pay a mechanic to resolve any car issues I have.
My failure at fixing cars shows me being a mechanic isn’t for me. However, I have skills and talents in other areas of life.
You must remember, not everyone can be a nuclear scientist, a competent janitor, an all-star athlete, or a famous actor. Failure can help us understand we should adjust our expectations about what is and what is not possible.
4. 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 they reject you.
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 quality, 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.
You need to have magnanimous goals. If you’re asking someone out because you want sex or you feel lonely, then you will respond more negatively to failure. Ensure your goals are virtuous and long-term by creating goals to improve as an individual.
Failure Is An Amazing Teacher Who Will Help You Grow And Achieve
Progress only comes when we fail. If I want to learn how to draw, then I have to accept my drawings will look like crap. This is a failure. But, through emotional control, confidence, and planning, I can continue forward by being tenacious and consistent.
Work hard, and you’ll overcome your fears. By adopting the techniques described above, I’m confident you’ll overcome your fear of failure 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 specific 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.