I have to admit it, whenever I heard or read the word “failure”, I pretty much freaked out. Big time. The word FAILURE can spook anyone off, it’s just simply not a nice word. It’s not a word that has a positive connotation. However, through the years, I’ve come to learn that fearing this word and what it embodies is actually a general misconception. Since little, we are taught that failure is bad, no good and unwanted. So, obviously, we grow up fearing failure. We grow up thinking that failure makes us a failure. That if we fail, then we must be a failure. What a misconception! As a matter a fact, failure is essential to achieve success. Ok, let me elaborate a bit more on that.
Can you think of any successful person- say, Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, Thomas A. Edison, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Michael Jordan, Giselle Bundchen, Meryl Streep…you get the picture, right?-that has made it to the top and has never failed? At some point in their life, they all experienced some sort of failure in their lives, in their careers. But did that stop them? Did that put a halt to their progress? Of course not! In a way, failure was the foundation from where they built their success. Sounds weird, huh? But it’s true. Failure is a critical key to success. Why you might ask? (I know you’re frowning at me right now).
First of all, let’s take a look at some of the synonyms (according to Google) for the word “failure”:
– lack of success
These words encompass a negative definition, a negative tone. That’s actually something we are taught. That these words probably shouldn’t even exist in our vocabulary. But (and I’m raising my left index finger as I say this), without failure, without the defeat and lack of success, there’s no motivating force behind that can push us further, that can make us long for success. You see, when you fail or experience defeat or lack of success or any of the synonyms to the word “fail”, you learn. You learn what works and what doesn’t. When Thomas A. Edison was asked what it felt to fail, he replied: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” See? You learn! Learning is everything. Unless, of course, you were born knowing everything (and if that’s the case, please let me know your contact details).
Ok, let’s get personal. I have failed so many times in life, I’ve lost count. And that’s normal. And I’m totally ok with that. I’m not going to do a recap of my whole life, so for time’s sake, I’m just going to tell you a bit after I graduated from college. I graduated from college in May 2011 (BA in Business with a minor in Marketing), and for a little bit over a year, I couldn’t find a job. Yup, unemployed. Companies would call me for interviews, said I had a great resumé and then I never heard from them again. So, no job = no money. End of 2012 and I still couldn’t find a job. Then, I decided to get a job online. I applied to God knows how many companies and they all rejected me. Ok, so that didn’t work. Then I thought, let’s be a freelancer. Nope, that didn’t work either. And the story goes on (I so don’t want to bore you). Almost everything I tried for in the past five years, I failed at. But no matter how much one fails, by no means, does that make you a failure. Failure is ok as long as it doesn’t become a mindset. Failure is ok as long as it doesn’t define you. Failure is meant to teach you, to enlighten you, to push you forward, but never allow it to become a mindset.
Now, if you think this is a story about how many times I’ve failed and then suddenly I became successful…well, sorry to disappoint you. You can probably say I’m still “failing”, I’m not where I want to be (yet). I started this blog almost two months ago and boy, have I learned. See, even if I’m not where I want to be, I’m still way better off than four years ago, way better than two months ago. I have figured out what works and what doesn’t and there’s still a whole lot to learn for me. And I like that, and I’m fine with that. It’s a learning curve. And no, I don’t regret any defeats or epic fails I’ve had because these “failures” have led me to where I am today and have molded me into who I am today. These “failures” have made my life far more interesting. In a way, I guess you could say that failure has improved me.
All in all, failure is essential to achieve success. It’s what drives you to be better, to actually ace something. It’s what kicks you in the bottom and forces you to get up and carry on. Whatever it is you think you are “failing” at, take a few minutes of your day to think and meditate about it, analyze it and LEARN! If you don’t learn you’re just going to be running around in circles and always getting to the same point: failure. Thomas A. Edison stated: “Negative results are just what I want. They’re just as valuable to me as positive results. I can never find the thing that does the job best until I find the ones that don’t.” (Yes, if you must know, I love Edison’s quotes. Quite obvious, eh?) So, keep trying. And for crying out loud, believe in yourself! Have faith that you will climb the mountain and get to the top. Anything that is worth having in life represents a struggle. Don’t give up, don’t feel disappointed, don’t get frustrated…you’ve only found certain ways that don’t work. Keep it up, you’ll get there and one day you’ll be writing your own success story.
Do you have a failure/success story you’d like to share? Let me know in the comments below or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org