I looked at the definition of failure in different sources. I found that it’s all about “defeat, lack of success, even a fiasco…” It may be easy to go back to the sources and change these definitions but are we really able to shift its significance from our minds?
Our educational system and the way we were raised had a lot to tell on this subject.
We were told since very early age to succeed but never how to learn from failures;to look for stability but not to search for self-fulfillment and happiness.
We were preached to respect the rules but not to respect our own rules, our values, to learn and become more. We were raised to focus on the grades but not on the learnings, to go after great results but not to enjoy the whole journey.
Most people are stuck and I was one of them not because they don’t have the abilities or the skills but because they grew up with limiting beliefs and a set of parameters that did not help them to face these challenges and failures.
HOW CAN YOU CHANGE THESE BELIEFS?
- Be self-aware
Awareness is a major step towards any kind of change and can do miracles. To change these beliefs, you need be aware of the kind of programming you have in your mind. Do you consider failure as a fatality or as a new opportunity to succeed? Do you avoid mistakes or do you embrace them? Do you give up easily when you fail or do you persist? Do you play the victim when things don’t go as expected or do you take responsibility?
2. Accept that you have a choice
You will always have a choice either to learn from your mistakes or give up on yourself. You will have the choice to let your challenges impact you or do something about them to make a real impact. You will have the choice to criticize and blame others for your failures or take full responsibly of your life.
3. Move into action
To upgrade your vision about failure, you need to embrace new thoughts, new words, and new behaviors in order to start a new programming that is aligned with your future goals.
Your thoughts will impact your words. Your words will affect your behavior. Your behavior will determine the choices you will take. Your choices and decisions will be reflected on your actions. Your actions will shape who you are and will define your results, your destiny and your future.
4. Ask for feedback
Assessing your performance will enable you to be more receptive to constructive feedback and evolve. Feedback is very important as it will help you keep an eye on your evolution to make the necessary adaptations. But ask feedback only from people you trust or friends who can give you an objective feedback and not a feedback based on criticism.
5. Learn from others’ failures
Learning from others’ failures can also help you change your vision about failure. I believe that regardless of past accomplishments or failures, we can always change and improve. Everything is possible when commitment is timely coupled with courage, perseverance and positive attitude.
Here a short list of people who experienced massive failures but they never gave up.
You may all know Oprah and her story. She is considered to be one of the world’s most influential women. Before she managed to build her empire, she was fired from her first job as a TV news anchor for being “emotionally invested” in the stories that she reported on.
“Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new center of gravity. Don’t fight them. Just find a different way to stand.” – Oprah Winfrey
A lot of people knows Mohamed Ali as the fighter or the champion. He was regarded as one of the most successful and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century.
But what most people don’t know is that he lived in an environment completely toxic: segregation, racism, violence, poverty and mostly an abusive father. He wanted to become a champion to fight for youth instability, racism, to help and inspire others, and he managed to reach his goals despite the hurdles.
“Only a man who knows what it is like to be defeated can reach down to the bottom of his soul and come up with the extra ounce of power it takes to win when the match is even.”
Who does not know Nelson Mandela? He was a great political leader and philanthropist who served as a president of South Africa. He was only 44 when he got a life sentence but he never abandoned hope or give up. Fighting for human rights and racism was his major cause worth fighting for.
“I never loose. I either win or learn …Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward.”
Thomas Edison was a master of trial and error. When asked about his failures when trying to create the light-bulb he said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”As a child, he was even considered dumb and was told by many of his teachers that he would never succeed.
He has been the greatest basketball player ever. He got his success from hard work and failure. He was once cut from his high school team, but he did not give up on himself. He kept improving. He failed big before he managed to be the greatest basketball player.
“I have missed more than 90,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I ave been entrusted to take the game-winning shot, and I missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
She is very well know for the movie of Harry Potter. She struggled with enormous personal hardships, and depression after the death of her mother. Her got divorced and left alone with the responsibility to raise a young child, living on welfare. Rowling herself said she was the “biggest failure I knew”
The list is very long. I read a lot of stories of resilience. These people did not let their past experiences impact them but they turned their stories into a vision and a strategy to accomplish their goals.
Nature has also a lot to teach us.
Have you ever tried to stop an ant while trying to reach a destination? It may shift right or left, climb over or under, but an ant will never quit.
They will always find a way to handle their failures. They are tiny but strong. They don’t have ears but can hear. They are small but can lift 20 times its own body weight.
They never stop as they know how to remain self motivated. They never give up.
This is what I learned from my past failures:
Failure is just another way to do things differently. It can redirect you to the right path.
Failure is a great opportunity to learn and evolve. It may shake you but it will get the best out of you.
Failure is a chance to make a revamp of the self to recheck your priorities and aspirations.
In a nutshell, you fail only when you stop trying. Never give up on yourself.