Failure Could Be Your Most Valuable Advantage
A look at the life of any successful person — a writer like J.K. Rowling, an entrepreneur like Lee Lacocca and his tremendous success with Ford, Steve Jobs who left a wonderful legacy, the fashion icon Anna Wintour, the television mogul Winfrey Oprah, and a host of others — and you’ll immediately understand that failure becomes the catalyst that propels people towards success and it seems to be part of a powerful component in the whole experience of success.
Those who learn to integrate failure into their learning or growth process, become very successful. Unfortunately, there are some who experience failure and are unable to recover. How can you avoid joining this group? How can you use failure as a springboard to soar towards success?
Give Failure a Name
There are people who find it really hard to admit that they are experiencing failure. When you hit rock bottom, acknowledge the defeat and assess the damage. Feel the pain. Know where it hurts the most. Don’t try to deny or to excuse your pain. Don’t even try to justify your failure. You create barriers of growth and stop yourself from receiving the message that failure offers if you start making excuses.
Some people think of failure as bad luck. It’s a tragic way of facing it. I have learned to give a name to every experience of failure I have encountered, by naming failure, we gain power over it, and we learn to allow it to speak to us instead of defeating us. At this point, we are able to accept its lessons and can say like Nelson Mandela, “I never lose. I win or I learn.”
One of the problems that get people stuck is their inability to acknowledge they have a problem. I have seen this a lot. I have acted this way as well. How can you move on when you don’t really realize that you have a problem? How can you find solutions to a problem you are barely aware of its existence? You rob failure of its power the moment you acknowledge it. You name it, and by so doing, you become its master. You can now determine how it affects you.
Take Full Responsibility
It’s easy to feel and act like a victim the moment you fail. As long as you blame others or external circumstances for your failure, you’ll remain a victim. But you can gain control by taking full responsibility for the situation. We can only determine the outcome of a situation by becoming accountable.
One of the horrible things to happen to anyone is to feel or act like a victim. Once you start thinking like a victim, you lose the power to take control. You constantly want to get even. Your motivation isn’t strong because it’s misguided. But you change the course of your life the moment you choose to be responsible for what happens to you and to take action in steering your life towards the direction you want it to take.
People who take full responsibility for what happens to them create their life. They create their path. They understand that they have the freedom to choose their responses to failure and anything that knocks them down. It is in this that lies their power to transform failure into an incredible tool that drives success.
Feel the Pain
Your success depends much on how well you connect with your pain. Somehow, your pain is intimately linked to your dream, to your success. Your pain is directly linked to your calling and you can’t pretend to ignore it. Listen to it. Allow it to show you the way. If you learn to feel your pain, without denying it, it will lead you to answers that will enable you to triumph over failure.
What is your attitude towards failure?
For most people, failure is the end of the road. If you look at failure as an adversary, then you’ll be setting yourself up for the worst form of defeat. Failure is the road you travel to success. Failure means you’re growing. It could also be what tells you that there are other alternatives. But the difference lies in knowing when you’re beaten and when to move on. There is the kind of failure that prompts you to change your road, to consider something else, and there is the kind that merely signals that there are things you need to learn or do differently.
Learn to be open-minded. Befriend failure and allow it to inform you. A positive and open-minded attitude towards failure will lead you to incredible opportunities. Remember that every time you fall, there is always something you can pick from the ground. Never lose the chance to learn every time you fail.
Never give up on yourself. Never give up your desire to grow, to learn, to understand the path you’re called to walk. Yes, embrace failure, be open to its lessons, and, believe me, your success will be incredible and it will come even faster than you could ever imagine. This is the most beautiful lesson of great and successful lives.