The word “failure” is intimidating. As a child, you learn that failure doesn’t feel good, it feels like you’ve been beaten and can even discourage you to continue trying. As human beings, we make ourselves feel that failure is one of the worst things that could happen to us, especially when you have an important challenge or goal you want to achieve. When you do not achieve that goal or conquer that challenge, the feeling of defeat you face can be overwhelming, frustrating and even embarrassing.
Let’s talk about the definition of the word “failure”. One definition says failure can be described as omission of occurrence or performance. A few more examples were; a lack of success or a falling short. Part of our fear of failure is derived from the definition of the word itself. The last thing a person wants to think of themselves as is a failure. Most people don’t realize it, but failure gives you the ability to learn and grow from where you might have “fallen short”.
So how do you learn to accept the fact that you have failed? The first step is to identify exactly why something didn’t work out the way you hoped or expected. For example, you take a test you spent only an hour prior to the test studying for. You get the results back only to learn, you received a non-passing grade. You think to yourself “How could this be? I studied!”. Identifying the fact that you probably did not spend enough time preparing for the exam is the best place to start. The truth is that we all get busy and time can slip away from us. So, rather than beating yourself up about not passing that test this time, just know when you retake it, you need to devote more time to studying. That is another lesson learned from a failed attempt. Don’t forget to congratulate yourself for even trying!
It is human nature to compare yourself to others and their successes. You may look at a class mate, family member, friend or co-worker and think “Wow, look at everything they have and everything I don’t have”. This does not mean you are a failure. People can feel ashamed when others have more or know more than they do, which can also lead to the feeling of failing. The most important thing to remember, is everyone has a goal in mind that they have not yet reached. Everyone has something that they wish they could do better or be better at. Not one person is perfect and not one person hasn’t felt the feeling of failure. Try to always keep your eye on the prize and keep on going. Be proud of what you have already accomplished and look forward to what you will accomplish in the future!
Sometimes, people can feel like they will never reach their goal or conquer a certain challenge and become discouraged. Guess what? That is ok! Rather than stressing yourself out, try hitting the reset button! Come up with a new idea, a new strategy or a new solution. Set a new goal for yourself and understand that sometimes, no matter how much you believe, how hard you work, how focused you are, some things simply cannot be done. This does not mean that you are a failure, this means you have been given a new opportunity to succeed in a different way.