Author: Catherine Pulsifer
Failure is not the end especially when you know how to accept failure for what it really is. Too often, many people associate failure with giving up relative to whatever they are attempting. While success is celebrated in our world, one's inability to achieve success labels one as a failure.
The greatest fallacy, however, is that many, many successful people or organizations have experienced failure well before they achieved success. It is not common sense to assert that those who have achieved success have done so because they are lucky or that they have never failed. In fact, just the opposite is true in that failure has been and still is one of the best teachers in life.
Accept Failure As Our Teacher
When faced with failure, reflect on the wisdom in this Japanese Proverb: "Fall seven times, stand up eight." As long as you keep getting up, you are not failing.
The proverb basically says that failure is common in that it may well knock you to the ground but the real sign of a successful mindset is to get up and have a run at whatever it is you want to achieve again. It doesn't mean seeing failure as the ultimate signal to quit;
it doesn't see failure as a personal failure of your character; and, it doesn't see failure as a one time event as you journey through life.
What the proverb does suggest is that failure oftentimes is the common thread that underscores many things that we strive to achieve in life. It basically says that failure is more of a constant than is success but that success comes to those who are willing to keep trying to achieve what it is they want.
We All Face It
Those who learn how to overcome failure become stronger. Let's face it we are all confronted with failure. The difference is how we deal with it. For example, I know you didn't learn to walk on your very first attempt. What I do know is that you probably tried over and over again to walk derspite the fact that you fell many, many times.
I can also argue that you probably didn't learn to ride a two wheel bicycle the very first time you tried despite the often failure of falling off after only riding a few short feet.
I can also contend that you didn't learn your basic alphabet the first time you tried to memorize it; or the first time you attempted to skate, or ski.
Failure Is Human Nature
All of these examples prove that the basic human element of learning is from experiencing failure. However, the positive element of failure is that you kept attempting despite encountering failure. An interesting aspect of experiencing failure is that as a child you didn't let anything or anyone dissuade you from trying to walk again, ride a bike again, or skate again. But, it would seem that as an adult failure takes on a much more significant negative connotation.
Negative Wrap For Failure
Some people use failure as an excuse to give up, to become bitter, or cynical. They no longer try, they take the easy way out by saying, "well I tried but it didn't work." They try one thing and they give up. But, the enhanced view of failure is like that of a child. Failure seems to have fallen on bad times and has been given a bad reputation from those who are more likely known to you than strangers. Oftentimes, this rather ugly view of failure stems from the reaction of important people in our lives like our parents, siblings, spouse or friends. However, the strength of the difference lies in how you view a failure not as how others view failure.
Positive Lessons From Failure
So, what is the positive message contained in a failure? That positive message means that you are able to look at failure as an opportunity to revisit past decisions and to devise new strategies. The elements of failure can expose what went right and what went wrong. The ingredients of failure point to ways to improve, change, revamp or to choose another method altogether to move forward with your intentions.
Doomed If You Don't Try
We think the inspirational quote said by Beverly Sills have wisdom in them, "You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try." Don't be one of those people who later on in life wonder what would have happened if they had done things differently. Or, one of those people who then see someone else succeed using their idea.
When you look at why it failed and try and figure out what went wrong you will find yourself learning from the experience. The benefit of analyzing why a certain aspect of your plan didn't work supplies plenty of information if you are willing to delve into the reasons headfirst. This examination isn't simply cursory.
It means that you need to apply aspects of critical thinking in order to sift through elements of whatever task or project you were working on. Part of this examination is to look at what factors internal to your endeavor went wrong. This internal review means that you need to look at your own behavior or actions to determine if one of some of your actions were either ill-timed or incomplete or not initiated soon enough.
The other part of the examination is to critically evaluate whether there were any external factors that negatively affected your plans. This review should serve to identify any factors that were beyond your control. For example, let's say that you wanted to establish a restaurant serving authentic Thai cuisine. You had all your strategies outlined, your menu set, your suppliers researched and your ideal location. However, as you were about to investigate the building you had in mind, you found out that it has just been rented to another client who planned to open a different kind of restaurant. But, the real issue was that the location you had in mind was the best or one of the best possible locations in your local area.
The unforeseen rental of the property you hand in mind was both an external factor, that is, beyond your control, and it was also an internal factor in that you may have waited too long to initiate securing the preferred location. However, and armed with new knowledge you have gleaned from your examination of a failed attempt will help you to start again this time even stronger and more prepared.
Successful People Fail
Thousands of successful people did not achieve success on their first try, but they were not discouraged. They picked themselves up and went back at it with an even stronger, single minded tenacity to achieve their goal.
There are many examples of what some might consider failure. Many times we hear or read about the success of people but what we do not hear is about how many times they started and failed, and started again.
Do not be discouraged if your plans do not succeed the first time.
Remember this: No one learns to walk by taking only one step!
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