If you haven’t failed at anything in life, you must be pretty amazing! Truth is, who hasn’t failed? We all as children struggled to sit up, walk and talk on our first try, we didn’t spring from the womb, stand upright and whilst walking say ‘nice to meet you, it was getting a bit cramped in there!’ We don’t look at babies/toddlers/children as failing when they fall or garble something incomprehensible, we know they are learning and we continue to encourage them to keep trying.
So when does learning turn into failure?
If we aren’t very good at something at school, we may fail an exam and we don’t or can’t get to grips with it. If we want to pass we try again, study more to understand and then hopefully pass the next time. Similarly, we may do all those things and still not pass, it maybe just isn’t our bag and therefore the learn is that we don’t go down that route, we try something else and move on.
Failure isn’t negative, it can’t be. Yet we are brought up to believe it is. Every time we ‘fail’ we learn something whether about ourselves or about what we are trying to achieve. Although at the time, it can be difficult to see through the veil of negativity we’ve put around it.
I’ve been listening to the podcast ‘How To Fail by Elizabeth Day’ and they are fantastic because everyone she interviews has failed at something along the way, even at the height of fame and success, they have had some clangers. But it’s inspiring!
How do you view failure? I know I certainly don’t view ‘failure’ as a negative anymore, I realise I have to fail in order to learn, grow, understand and move forward. It makes us stronger and it makes us real. Ideally we want to be successful in all we do at the first try, but if all was plain sailing, how dull would that be? Failure adds uncertainty to an otherwise predictable outcome. We don’t want to botch things up all the time, but if you do, so what? Keep going, hold your head high and give yourself a pat on the back for trying!
Failures are finger posts on the road to achievementC.S. Lewis
Our life, as I’ve said many times before, isn’t a straight line, we think we are heading in one direction and for numerous reasons, things change. So when it changes for the reason of so called failure, it’s a learn, it’s something we need to figure out before we move forward into success or another learn. Failure can open doors that success can’t. Think about it. What have you failed at and have had to take a different route, ultimately enabling you to arrive at a positive outcome? And when I say a positive outcome, I mean one that is right for you? Had your original plan been a success, would you be in the midst of something good? Or is this alternate outcome much better?
Pick something you’ve failed at, it can be anything and look where it took you, for me it would be when I quit university when I was 19. I started doing a course at Uni after I’d been to college for a year, about 6 weeks in I realised the course wasn’t for me, nothing seemed right with it. So I left and felt like a failure. I worked more or less full time at my part time job to buy myself sometime to think about my next step. The following year, I enrolled at college and did a Business Admin course, which led me back to uni the next year for a Business Studies degree – boom, four years later I graduated.
I can’t see how my life would have panned out if I had completed my original degree however, the path I went on, got me to where I am. And I have to say, I’m happy. Along the way there have been other bumps in the road where I’ve considered something a failure, but I’ve overcome it and moved on and so have you.
What I want you to think about is what you consider to be a failure in your life. Was it really? Has you life been awful since then? Or have you picked yourself up, taken on board why it didn’t work out and then moved on, tried again, or just changed direction. If there is something in your life you are currently ‘failing’ at, take another look. Are you just missing the learning point that turns it into a win?
I would love for us all to forget about the word failure, and say things like ‘I didn’t accomplish what I set out to do, but along the way I achieved x y z or I went a different route that gave me a better outcome.’ Be kind to yourself, never berate yourself for failing at anything. Think about it, a failure could be a success in disguise – the Post-it Notes for example!
Have a lovely week! There may be a failure waiting around the corner but it’s just success in disguise! Have a great week, stay safe and look after you.
Love Emma 😃 xx