The season of failure is the best time for sowing the seeds of success. ~ Paramahansa Yogananda
Failure has a negative connotation, but unrightly so. Any succesful person will be able to tell you about their failures with a smile on their face, because they wouldn’t have made it to where they are without mistakes to learn from. Real regret comes from letting opportunities pass by, because of an unwillingness to fail. When we start to look at failures as a natural process and an intricate part of success, we liberate ourselves from the biggest fear that stands in between us and our dreams.
Afraid of failure
I think a lot of people are afraid to fail, myself included. Also, every performer will feel a bit of nervousness before they jump on stage, even if they’ve done it a hundred times already. But they’re willing to take that step, break through the anxiety, and get into their flow. The first step is always the hardest, but once you get into your momentum, nothing can stop you. Sadly, there are many people who never take the first step to realizing a dream, or give up immediately after something goes wrong.
This happens because failure is often seen as something negative, and for that reason many people are afraid to fail. When you have a dream or ideal, the reality of it possibly not working out seems to be more painful than holding on to a harmless fantasy. But that is not the case; it’s a dream that has never been acted upon which will be the most painful when you look back years from now. But when you go for what you want, then all your failures will have been stepping stones to success, and funny stories to share and laugh about.
How seriously do you take your past failures? Personally, I can laugh at all of mine. The fear towards failure feels much worse than failure itself. A good way to counter your fears is to focus on the action, rather than the outcome. Think of your own life and determine whether you really regret the failures more than not taking advantage of opportunities that came your way. My regrets, if any, all fall in the second category. It’s important to realize that failures are a natural part of success, so we don’t need to fear them.
Respect the process
A failure is never permanent, and it’s only a failure if that’s what you make of it. But when you look at failure as part of a learning process, then it only means that you’re improving. Failures contribute the most important lessons to be successful. There is absolutely not one big achiever out there, who has become successful without any failures to learn from. We have to be willing to fail to be succesful, and respect failures as part of the process. Such a perspective will serve you much more, because it’s inherently constructive and positive.
How succesful was your first relationship? Would you rather not have had that experience? Of course not! You would’ve had to go through the same learning process again. For that matter, when I look at my first relationship, a lot of things went wrong, but I wouldn’t want to call it a failure. In fact, I would call it a huge success, because I’ve learned so much from it. When I think of all the things I would do differently now, it only goes to show how much knowledge and value I’ve received.
The common denominator of success stories is a series of failures preceding the final breakthrough. We’re often so focused on the success itself, that we forget about what successful people had to endure. It’s a game of endurance and focus; a test of determination and sacrifice. Usain bolt ran a world record at the 100 meter sprint in 9.58 seconds, but it took years upon years of training to get to that level. Success never comes out of the blue, but it’s the final result of a long learning process. One needs to invest 10,000 hours to master any given craft.
Don’t take failure personal
Sometimes your first attempt at something turns out pretty good. This is beginner’s luck. It’s God’s way of saying that you should keep going at it. After that the learning process starts. Failures are inevitable, so don’t take them personal. I can say from experience that the more we take our failures personal, the harder it will be to improve. Negativity prohibits growth. The harder you are on yourself, the less you can enjoy the process of learning and improving.
Additionally, when you take failure personal it becomes harder to receive coaching from others. And coaching is very critical to be successful. You can only see so much by looking in the mirror, whereas others see things about you that you might have overlooked. You can call them blind spots. Having someone you trust and respect to give feedback is immensely valuable. Every successful person has a coach, because we all benefit from hearing another perspective than our own.
So it’s important to emotionally detach from failure, else it will only get in the way of success. On the other hand, do not take success personal either. Powerful people will give others credit for their success. If you only give yourself credit, then you’re not giving back appreciation to the people who helped you, and consequently they’ll stop doing so because you’re not providing enough value to them. Would you rather work for a jerk who’s full of himself, or for a kind and respectful person who makes you feel better?
Success is an attitude
If anything, success is an attitude; a state of mind. Success is not something that happens to you, but what you choose to be. Successful people leverage failure as a means to improve. To them, it only means that they’re yet another step closer to succeeding. When you’re determined to make something work, then surely you’ll find a way. You will get whatever you focus your mind on. Learn from failure, but pay no other attention to it. Instead, immediately start working on your next move. It’s all about taking action and keeping busy.
For that matter, success depends largely on commitment. People who can’t commit themselves to what they really want will never achieve anything worthwhile. Commitment to your own success is what drives you outside of your comfort zone, where all the magic happens. Your intelligence is of little importance compared to commitment when it comes to achievement. There is no substitute for it. Commitment allows you to put failure in the right perspective, and turn it inside out for maximum achievement.
Failure is a very constructive experience. It’s the best teacher to learn from, and as long as you don’t take failure personally, there’s a lot of growth potential to discover. People often forget that every success story is the product of plenty of failures. It takes time to master your skills, so rather than needing everything to be perfect the first time around, it’s better to just respect the process. In the end, success is an attitude above all. Focus, determination, and commitment allow you to turn failure into success.
What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned from failures? How do you define success?