You’ve probably heard the cliché about success being the culmination of several failures, and yes, it is a cliché, but it is completely true. Failure is a part of life as much as success is. The very definition of one relies on the existence of the other.
And all this philosophising is well and good, but not everyone is Plato or Aristotle. Sometimes when faced with failure, we don’t know how to proceed, or we succumb to our emotions and lose our way a bit.
Dealing with failure is one of the most important parts of life and it largely defines our character. While not everyone deals with failure in the same way, there are some simple things that can give a whole new perspective to failure.
Important things to remember
- Success does not mean perfection. Edison’s first incandescent lightbulb wasn’t perfect (and neither are the fluoro lights or LEDs that came after it), but it illuminated the world like nothing else at the time.
- If something you did failed, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure, just human.
- Failure and success are on a spectrum. Just because you didn’t get the highest accolade doesn’t mean you failed, and failing by only 1% means you’re 99% there.
- Virtually every famous person has failed many times in their life. They succeeded because they didn’t let failure stop them.
- You’re not alone. You can ask your friends or research what someone else did in a similar scenario if you need help finding a way forward.
- Failing to have a go is failing by default.
- You need to have the right mindset. You will go a lot further if you treat every setback like a hurdle and not a roadblock.
- Admitting that you’ve failed in the first place is a big first step in turning that failure around.
- Don’t dwell on your failures forever. You’re not defined by your failures (none of the famous people who succeeded are) and you shouldn’t let yourself be.
- Failure is almost always an opportunity. You just need to know how to spot it.
- Sometimes failing at something actually shows you the way to succeed.
Life is full of successes and failures, and the reality is that both of them are one and the same – opportunities. The journey doesn’t end with either of them. And we all know that life is about the journey, not the destination.
The secret is not to give up hope. It’s very hard not to because if you’re really doing something worthwhile I think you will be pushed to the brink of hopelessness before you come through the other side. – George Lucas