Why do we fall, sir? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.
-Alfred Pennyworth, Batman Begins (2005)
One of my favorite dialogues from cinema that had a major impact on my life.
It describes failure in a more humanly way. As opposed to the society we live in where failure is treated as endgame. The word failure has a lot of negative emotion attached to it. No doubt about that.
Do you know why? Because our society considers failure as losing. It is a fundamental mistake that’s deep-rooted in our mindsets.
To me, failure means learning. It means discovering how and what not to do. It is an experience-generating machine that shapes your life and filters out the bad, so you can focus on the better.
Sure! Even I have bad days. The courage lies in continuing to look towards a better future.
People deal with failure in different ways. Some take it to heart, others to the mind. It’s hard to say which one’s better, but true wisdom lies in how they use it after it reaches the two touchpoints.
You can take it to heart, feel every emotion and, channel that into creating a productive outcome. Or, you can take it to your mind and develop a strategy to come out better than before.
It can be different for different people but, the outcome is the same. You learn and become wiser than before.
Without further ado, let’s come straight to the point. Here are 5 reasons why failure is not as bad as you think:
1. Failure is a course correction
I genuinely believe that failing fast is the best thing that can happen to you. The more you discover what path to not walk on, the clearer becomes your path to success.
If you continue to explore opportunities while you’re still young, maybe in college or your twenties, you can eat risk for breakfast. The appetite for failure is generous, and you get to experiment a lot.
By the time you reach your late twenties or thirties, there’s a high chance you fall in sync with what you were meant to do.
When you shift your perspective from seeing failure as losing to seeing it as learning, the game changes big time!
2. Failure makes you thick-skinned
When you dare to start and absolutely suck at something new, you bet against the odds. It provides discomfort, self-doubt, low self-confidence, and whatnot.
Once you get past the first hurdle, it becomes a little easier, then a little more, and then a little more. This way, you learn to face rejections like a pro because you know it’s okay to fail when you start.
The good thing is, you are not hiding behind the cloak of perfection, saying I’ll do it when I become perfect. You’re out there putting in your best every day and staying strong while facing rejections regularly.
The more you fail, the more you figure out what works and what doesn’t. All that’s left is to find the right opportunity and strike while the iron is hot.
Your winning strategy must involve losing and you being okay with it.
3. Failure helps you see who matters and who doesn’t
Failure helps you realize which relationships are worth your time and energy. It’s easy to kick someone when they are down and leave.
Hard times will reveal true friends, they say. Not one bit is untrue. If you’re not in the best or ideal circumstances right now, at least keep your eyes open to see who’s been around and who left.
It’s not ideal to focus on others while you’re drowning in self-doubt but it’ll save you a lot of trouble. BELIEVE ME!
Observe who was your coast guard when you were trying to surf against the tides. That’s it.
4. Failure makes you compassionate and humble
Once you fail, you become a mentor for everyone around you who’s in the same league. It helps you become humble towards your journey to success.
There is a lot to learn from a person who has failed than from a person who shot to fame immediately. The ability to deal with setbacks cannot be taught but the least you can do is advise on better ways. Failure teaches you that.
The joy of guiding someone in their journeys will make you feel a deep sense of satisfaction. If you learn from failures and help others to avoid them, you literally turn it into success for yourself. That’s what teachers are for.
Success is not that good a teacher. Failure is.
5. Failure helps you take risks
No risk. No story. Well, it’s a cliche but, it’s true. If you don’t take risks and fail, you won’t have wonderful stories to tell. Until you experience what sinking feels like, it’s hard to know what sailing feels like too.
When you try and fail, what you really win at is the courage dept. The will to do something without thinking about how wrong it could go until after you’ve done it is precious. Very few people have this skill and, it comes from failing. Most people lose their time thinking too much, and I am one of them.
Moreover, failure helps us to focus less on negativity. The more failures we face, the more resilient we become. It means that every time you try something new, you focus more on success because you know how to handle failure. It’s the success that intrigues you.
You can take a risk or lose a chance but, it’s better to try something new so that failure feels like a lesson.
How to turn failure into success:
Plan: Take out time to create a fool-proof plan so that you never fail because of incompetence. If you want to fail, do it at the cost of something you didn’t know. Not something you didn’t plan.
Execute: Failing to execute is also a massive failure. Don’t be a victim of that. You can take calculated risks but execute the hell out of whatever sparks your soul. You are doomed to fail if you don’t execute, but you might just have a chance if you take action.
Feedback: In the unlikely scenario that you fail, take time to accept it, address it and then get back to your game. The moment you take feedback from failure, you are already better equipped to deal with it the next time.
Learn: Now that you know where you went wrong, it is easier to start learning from it. Working on your strengths is great, but work on your weaknesses, so there aren’t any. Learning from failure negates the whole concept of failure because it turns out to be a win-win. You don’t lose. You win or learn.
You can learn to live with failure so that you never lose in life. Accepting it is the only wisdom you need and, the earlier you do it, the better you sleep.
It’s high time to start seeing failure for what it really is and not as the population perceives it. You’ll learn and unlearn a lot of things along the way and, that’s beautiful because it’s all a part of your journey.
I hope you learn, fail and bounce back but still not consider yourself as a failure.