Have you ever experienced failure? Not the milder forms where you might’ve lost out on a deal or missed an appointment. No. We’re talking about real failure. The serious kind of setback that made you want to give up the quest for your dreams and goal? That’s right. The kind of failure that took the wind out of your sails and left you feeling stranded with no mean of going forwards. That kind of failure.
It’s an important question because almost everybody who sets out to accomplish anything worthwhile in life will face the challenge of serious failure at some point. It’s inevitable. And it can be so painful and so traumatic that most people choose to quit rather than face the catastrophe and keep going. The pain can leave its scars. The pain can also be very persuasive and the simple fact is that pretty much everyone will do anything they can to avoid any further repetition of the pain. Whether the pain’s physical, mental or emotional.
Let’s be completely open about this: failure can be a very painful experience. That much is clear.
But failure’s rarely fatal.
The key is to learn to recognise that failure is a normal part of the quest for success. In fact, if you haven’t experienced failure yet, it means you probably weren’t trying hard enough in the pursuit of your goals.
Everything you want is on the other side of fear. – Jack Canfield
A casual reference to any highly-successful individual will usually reveal a long catalogue of failures. Because failure goes with the territory. The pathway to success doesn’t follow a straight line. It bends and twists and folds around on itself. It’s strewn with rocks and boulders and unexpected obstacles. But it’s your willingness to keep going – to find a way over or around the blockages – that will determine whether or not you reach your chosen destination. The simplest way to abandon your precious dreams is to accept the failure as final – and quit.
Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly. – Robert F. Kennedy
Our culture doesn’t encourage the qualities of patience or endurance outside the field of sports. We’ve been seduced by the allure of instant results. Social media are filled with adverts that promise instant gratification, easy shortcuts to our heart’s desires and pain-free progress in every part of our lives. But most of us suspect deep down that anything truly worthwhile requires a corresponding level of effort. And success can be very demanding, calling for long hours of hard work, risks, personal sacrifice, dogged determination and a stubborn refusal to quit in the face of failure. It’s tough. Perhaps that’s why so many people find it so tempting to abandon their plans and look for something easier to pursue.
Giving up is the only sure way to fail. – Gena Showalter
When you learn to embrace the discomfort of failure as an integral part of your chosen pathway to greatness, you become much more resilient to the setbacks and obstacles that show up along the way. It’s an incredibly important point to consider. If you’re standing still and avoiding any chance of pain or disruption, you’re unlikely to get very far with your plans. The more momentum you create, the more likely you are to encounter the obstacles and reversals that demonstrate unambiguously that you’re making progress. Even when it doesn’t feel as if you’re making headway.
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. – Denis Waitley
A catastrophic failure that derails your plans and brings you to a dead stop can be extremely intimidating. Like a knockdown in the boxing ring, it takes time to recover, time to regain your composure and time to re-align your focus with your goals rather than with the setback. The most important part of the experience is your willingness to get back on your feet and keep fighting. That’s the essential difference between long-term winners and losers.
This is also where failure can serve as a great teacher. The experience can act as a catalyst for change in the way you do things. It tests more than your resolve. It can force you to question your methods and deepen your understanding of the risks involved in turning your dreams into reality. The blow to your ambitions can help you to be much better prepared in the future. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll make the same mistake twice.
Thomas Edison’s famous quote about the many attempts he made to design an efficient light bulb should inspire all of us to keep going.
I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. – Thomas A. Edison
The real value of failure is that it can teach us far more than it takes away. It can help us to develop our latent potential. It demands greater resilience from us in the face of the inevitable opposition we will encounter. It tests our commitment to achieving our goals. It reveals our true strengths in the face of disaster. It rewards us with a sense of being unstoppable. It reminds us that we are much stronger than we might’ve realised. It can show us in unmistakable terms that we are capable of surviving life’s storms. And it can prove that we are fully capable of prospering in the face of adversity.
We might not enjoy failure. That much is sure. But we can derive enormous benefits from its lessons that will bring us ever closer to realising our dreams and our full potential.
Pain is temporary. Quitting lasts forever. – Lance Armstrong
Are you ready right now for a completely fresh approach to life’s great adventure? Get in touch with us today for a free session to discover how the growing global movement for personal growth, success, change and empowerment can enhance your life!
Greg Parry created The Wellness Foundation and the Cognitive Empowerment Programs specifically to help people master their stress, overcome their limitations and explore the power of their true potential.
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