Let’s admit it, everyone fears failure, we hate to fail, we dread it, we all want to succeed or who doesn’t want to? Most of us go extra miles to avoid failure because of the shame and disappointment that accompanies it. Even when we know that past and present successful people and great achievers experienced failure. But when we fail, we dwell on it and rent out a room in our mind for it, we still go on to allow failure to occupy not just a room but the whole apartment.
Permit me to ask why is it so hard to forgive ourselves when we fail and admit that we made mistakes, learn the lessons and move on? Abraham Lincoln as I read failed in business at age 21, at 22 he was defeated in the legislative battle, he failed again at 24, his fiancée died when he was 26, he had a nervous breakdown at 27, lost a Congressional race at 34, lost a senatorial race at age 45, he then failed to become Vice President at 47, when he was 49 he tried the senatorial race again and yet lost it.
But he never gave up
Finally at the age of 52 he was elected as the President of United States. He fought with all his might not to associate himself with failure even when failure kept staring boldly at his face and at the end he achieved greatness and had his name written on the Sand of time.
Do you also need me to mention Thomas Edison? That name rings a bell right? If you haven’t heard about him, know now that he repeatedly failed 10,000 times while he was inventing the light bulb. Yes you read that right: 10,000 times of failing without giving up.
So far I have failed too in some aspects of my life, I remember last year when I failed one of my courses, when I got to the result board to check, I saw F then I cleaned my eyes and looked at it again expecting that it was something else I’d seen but the F kept staring boldly at my confused face then it looked like the earth was spinning and hot tears had started gathering getting ready to drop I had to hold it back. It’s hard when you fail because you never prepared or had plans but it’s suicidal if you fail when you had put everything in place to succeed. I had fallen but I knew I had to pick myself up and run the race again.
Recently I read that a female student in 100 level committed suicide because she failed a course. Such a pity! She didn’t take her life because she failed but because she couldn’t handle failure. She must have pondered on the shame of failing and kept seeing herself as a failure before she decided to make that hard decision.
If you don’t know how to deal with failure, it will capitalize on that and deal mercilessly with you. Dealing with failure needs you admitting that you ain’t a failure because you didn’t succeed, it is about you building up the courage to try it again. If you are able to admit your disappointment and accept your mistakes you will be able to move on. If you ask how can I keep failure and the fear of failing from frustrating me, let’s look at these strategies.
Accept that you failed. After that normal shock that comes with disappointment has died down, try to accept what had happened because it will be hard to move on if you keep blaming yourself, or you imagine that it never really happened and by doing this it will be easier to pick yourself up without regret. Try not to worry that everyone will be disappointed at you because you didn’t succeed.
Don’t personalize it. Accepting that you failed does not mean you should identify yourself as a failure. Try to let go of the regret and forgive yourself. Remember Abraham Lincoln refused to allow the things he failed at to define him, that’s why he succeeded as the President of US because he kept striving harder for the best.
Don’t hold unto it. Being obsessed with failure wouldn’t change anything and you will keep getting failed results. Failure has the ability to paralyse any bud of success that wants to spring forth and you give it chance when you keep occupying it. You do not have any power over the past but you can design your future. If Thomas Edison had dwelled on his past after failing 10,000 times he wouldn’t have invented the light bulb. The only reason you should remember the past failures should be to learn from them.
Close your ears to what others say. Most times why we are afraid of failing is because of what people will say, because we don’t want others to be disappointed at us. We easily get affected by what people will say about us, this is normal but also remember that the life you live is yours and not theirs. When you fail know that people will mock at you but also have it in your mind that when you rise from the dust to succeed the same people will celebrate with you that’s life, so even when you are in the state of failing, block your ears to the opinion of others in order not to lose your passion and confidence to rise up.
Focus on a new view. Drift yourself and your mind away from negative thoughts, look at the positive side, pronounce positive words upon your life. I am not a failure, I can do it again, I need another chance to make it, I have learn from my mistakes, I am way smarter than before because of this experience… these are statements that can inspire you to strive harder again. There are things you must have achieved in life, look at those and smile again. Do not relax, pick yourself up and run the race again because you will surely succeed.
If you go down the history lane and have the opportunity to ask those who distinguished themselves through their great achievements, they will tell you that they also experienced failure which was like the pathway to their success. You are not a failure when you fail but only when you refuse to try again.
Denis Waitley said:
Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”
Happy New Month!