‘I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can't accept not trying.’
– Michael Jordan
Some of the greatest celebrity figures of our times have lived through catastrophic failure, to then achieve unprecedented levels of success.
J.K Rowling, author of the globally recognized ‘Harry Potter’ books knew a lot about failure. But that was before she went on to write one of the biggest selling books of all time. Divorced, a single parent and completely penniless, Rowling wrote some of the chapters for her first book on the napkins from the café she often sat in.
Albert Einstein’s touches with failure were no different; unable to speak until the age of four, incapable of reading until seven. Teachers and doctors thought him mentally handicapped. He grew up to become a noble prize winner and one of the greatest scientists history has ever known.
Chances are that you too want to become successful, but have experienced setbacks and failures that have left you questioning whether there is any point in you continuing with your vision. However, stories of the failings of now successful names such as J.K Rowling and Einstein should be celebrated; as they are evidence to the fact that failure often becomes the stepping stones to our future.
Failure is something that all of us will have to live through at some point in our lives, some more than others.
However, instead of choosing to see your failure as an indication of you being incapable or unworthy in some way, just see it for what it really is. A result.
Every time we take action or make a decision, we produce a result. You may choose to interpret this result in a positive or negative light, but when you interpret this result negatively it is your thoughts and your interpretations that are making you feel bad. Nothing else. It is how you choose to interpret the result and outcomes of your actions that define whether or not you go on to achieve success.
One common attribute amongst the successful is usually this; when they experience results that others may consider to be a failure, they do not think any less of themselves. Nor do they consider this result to be permanent in any way. Instead, they see that they have taken action and that although the result was not what they wanted, it has taught them something that will take them one step closer to their personal goals.
They understand the most important thing of all about failure; that the more setbacks we encounter and the harder things begin to seem; the closer we are getting to achieving our dreams.
When people are staring failure straight in the face, a ‘flight’ rather than ‘fight’ mentally tends to take over. However, hiding from your problems is not the way forward. If you want to move on from your failures and use them to achieve prosperity, then you must first face what has happened.
Whether you suddenly find yourself in the midst of a messy break-up, are fired from your job or are on the receiving end of a rejection letter, just accept it for what it is. There is no use in getting lost in feelings of hurt and self-pity, this will get you nowhere. Take a moment to grieve for what has passed and then take it for what it is. A part of your journey to prosperity.
Sometimes our failures and setbacks can distort and confuse our goals and our understanding of who we are. Don’t let this happen to you. Instead, allow your failures to give you greater clarity in what you want and where you are going.
Examine yourself as a person. How badly do you want this? Remind yourself that the challenges you face will remain just as difficult as before. Therefore, you need to focus on becoming the very best that you can be, in order to overcome them.
So, you made a decision and didn’t get the results that you had wanted. What now?
Our failures can offer us one of the greatest opportunities of all. The opportunity to learn and improve. You tried something and it didn’t pay off, but now you must be brave enough to use this as the valuable lesson that it is. Look at the mistakes that you made and know that you will never make the same ones again. Then, decide what you will do differently next time. You may fail again. And again and again. But every time you will learn something new and succeed at growing as a person.
It is often said that we are only ever as great as the people that we surround ourselves with. Therefore, when you find yourself in times of need, surround yourself with people that will uplift and support you. Anyone that tries to tell you that you should give up, should be avoided at all costs.
Family, friends, successful people that you may know. Let them lift you in your times of trouble with their love and good words. If they know you well enough and care for you, they will want to see you realize your dreams. So let them know when you have failed, they may be able to point you back in the right direction.
When you have allowed yourself to go through these previous four stages, you are ready to dust off the old boxing gloves and start again!
You should use what you have learned, about yourself and your actions, as well as from others you know, to get back in the ring and knock your failure for six! Let the world see you come back roaring and ready, and then prepare yourself for that final push to success.
The more blood and sweat you endure on your journey, the much, much sweeter your success will eventually be.
No one ever said that we have only one shot at this. Give your dreams that second (or third, fourth, fifth…) chance that it deserves and you should thank yourself in the end.