„I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.“
~ Michael Jordan
Most people like to focus on being successful as much as they can. In pursuit of trying to excel in their domain, they are often taken by surprise when they are suddenly not successful and failure hits them. Everyone will agree that failing at something sucks. Failure doesn’t feel good and it decreases our self-confidence. However, I like to argue that failure is probably one of the most powerful learning tools we have.
Let Failure Be Your Friend
Without exception, everybody fails at something during their life. Failure is part of life and an absolutely necessary component. And yet, most people are afraid to fail because it entails so many unpleasant consequences.
However, knowing that failure is inevitable – wouldn’t it be beneficial to develop an attitude where we are prepared and expect to fail? Wouldn’t such an attitude help us in dealing with all the negative thoughts and worries associated with failure? How many times have you failed only to realise that the failure wasn’t pleasant at the time but a valuable learning experience later on?
Finding an answer to the above questions would be a lot easier if we had consciously started embracing failure as an integral part of learning.
In my Engineering Bachelor’s Degree, I have failed a total of 13 written exams. Nothing to be proud of and I blame my lazy ass for not being prepared well enough. However, even though I failed that many exams, I didn’t let my failures undermine my efforts to try again and again. I didn’t let these failures discourage me from continuing my studies. Instead, these failures taught me to embrace failure and try harder the next time. Of course, it wasn’t fun to study for the same exams all over again, living the life of a a desk-bound caveman – but in the end, it was worth it. I had learnt to embrace failure and had grown more resilient to it and awarded myself by passing all of these exams.
Sports injuries are also failures. I have argued in the past how injuries can acutally be a bliss.
Next Time You Fail
First of all, don’t let future failures come as a complete surprise to you. You will still worry and feel bad them but try minismising these feelings.
Most importantly: Reflect on your failures!
Be honest with yourself, and identify the things you could have done differently or better.