Failure is a negative word. No one wants to fail. Many of us do all we can to avoid the risk of becoming "failures." But have you ever considered what "failure" actually is?
Let's think about it from a different perspective—as another step in life that takes us towards whatever we do next. Not everything we do is going to work out exactly as intended. But if you are failing, you must be the kind of person who is prepared to take some risks. And that means you are far more likely to ultimately reach your potential.
Failure isn't the problem. Fear of failure is. You need to change your perspective and recognize failing can be the key to achieving success.
Failure Is An Effective Teacher
"Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement." —C.S. Lewis
It's easier to learn from failure than from success. It gives you the chance to analyze what's not working and do something about it.
Even if some factors seem to be out of your control, think through what they are. Can you do anything to reduce their impact? Or is there a way of gaining greater control of them?
Failure Makes You Resilient And Persistent
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." —Thomas A. Edison
By failing and then using what you've learned from the experience, you have the potential to become more resilient and more persistent. The more persistent you become, the less likely it is you'll be emotionally affected by not getting the outcome you'd hoped for. And that gives you a better perspective for analyzing what needs to be done to move you towards success.
Every "failed attempt" simply becomes a new learning experience to fine-tune your efforts.
Trying And Failing Is Far Better Than Not Trying At All
"I knew that if I failed I wouldn't regret that, but I knew the one thing I might regret is not trying." —Jeff Bezos
If something is worthwhile, it's probably going to take quite a bit of work to achieve. So, build into your plans the expectation that it could require significant effort. But until you try, you will never know. And even if it doesn't work out, you've given it a go and will have learned from the experience.
If you're so busy worrying about failing that you never find the impetus to move forward, then visualize yourself in 12 months' time dealing with a sense of regret for never even attempting it. Which feels worse?
When It's Time To "Fail"
If you're not afraid to fail, it will give you another valuable ability. And that is being able to recognize when giving up on a particular goal is the right course of action.
Perseverance is important and you should never become the type of person who gives up simply because something is harder than you'd expected or taking longer than you'd hoped. But maybe you or your situation has changed and your goal is no longer relevant. Maybe your skills and talents are better off applied elsewhere now that time has moved on. Or perhaps you're doing the same thing over and over again in the vain hope of a different result.
If you've given it your very best shot and it still isn't working, it's time to change your approach. Would you call that failing? Or just applying some common sense about where to direct your energy?
Failure Is An Important Part Of Life
Think about your past and you'll probably be able to spot times when making a choice that wasn't successful helped refine your approach and eventually took you towards a better outcome.
Start viewing failure as a learning opportunity, use the lessons you gain from it, and take the first steps to setting yourself up for success.
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This post was originally published at an earlier date.