Failure has such a shitty stigma attached to it. When you really fail at something you feel like an ass. It stings, especially if it involves other people or happens when other people are around. Nobody likes to be centered out and have their flaws pointed out.
Nobody wants to fail! Nobody wants to feel like a failure or feel like they can’t do something. Especially something that they’ve poured their heart and soul into.
(see my article on Fear of Failure for more on this topic. You’ll notice I write about failure a lot… I’m experienced haha.)
“I learned many, many lessons from my father, but not least of which is that you can fail at something you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance doing what you love.”
~ Jim Carrey
Truth is, failure is part of life. Period. You will never get through life without any failures and if you do… well, you’re not doing it right.
Kids need to fail to learn. They need to fall so they can learn how to get back up, they need to get hurt so they can figure out a new way of doing things and understand that the way they thought was going to work, didn’t and that’s ok.
Kids need to gain an understanding of how life works.
So do adults.
We never stop learning.
We never stop adapting.
We never stop growing and evolving.
Life is consistently changing and if we are unable or unwilling to accept these changes, we may very well get left behind. Or become bitter, angry resentful old people that talk about how hard life was all the time.
Some of the greatest success stories of our time come from a long line of people who just never. Gave. Up. They realized that their purpose, mission and goals were bigger than their failure and they kept pushing forward. I’m not saying their journey to success was flawless or easy, because they were most likely were not. Their journey to success, not unlike my own and most likely yours was filled with and fueled by anxiety, depression, panic attacks, deep lows, a roller coaster of emotional turmoil, but also extravagant highs, fits of JOY so great they felt like they could walk on water, massive celebrations and deep heart-felt feeling of gratitude.
They picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and tried again a few more times from a few different angles.
There is no failure… you’re simply figuring out an alternate way of doing things.
Could you imagine what our world would be like if the great inventors, scientists, philosophers, athletes, mothers, fathers, teachers, of our time gave up after their first disappointment? As a society, where would we be?
No Spielberg movies.
No Stephen King books.
No Michael Jordan.
No Harry Potter *gasp*
No Gaga! No thank you!
I could go on and on and on, but I’m sure you get my drift.
We are programmed from an early age that failure is shameful and wrong. We are taught that to be successful at life, we must be perfect and poised and never make a mistake. This is bullshit.
PSA. Parents, stop telling your kids that they can’t or shouldn’t fail (this applies to participation medals too.). Start telling them they CAN have whatever they want, but they’re going to have to work their little asses for it. If they want it bad enough, they will keep pushing through all the bullshit, resistance, nay-sayers, trips, falls and negativity they’re going to encounter along the way. Truth mama. Give it to them straight. Prepare them accordingly. Life is cruel and unkind and nobody gets out of it easy, it’s just best you prepare them nice and early that it won’t be a walk in the park.
To be successful in life, love, relationships, careers, etc., we must fail, repeatedly. Period.
It’s not about how you fail. It’s about how gracefully you get back up.
We NEED to experience the lows in life. This is where we learn the most. Our challenges and recovery will teach us not only about life, but about who we are as a person. These moments are our teachers! These moments are vital to our success. Embrace them. Love them. Learn from them. They will teach you more than you can even imagine IF you are open to it. If you are not open to them… I can almost guarantee you will start to notice a pattern of repetitiveness in those epic failures. Teachers have a way of re-appearing until the lessons are learned.
Listen, self-discovery is a fucking trip and everyone needs to do it, for real. I’ll save THAT journey for another day. We NEED the lows in life. We need the ‘holy shit, wtf am I going to do now,’ the ‘omg can I really do this’ moments, the “wow, that hurt. Let’s figure out a way to NOT let that happen again!’ so that we will honestly and truly appreciate the highs, the small victories (no matter how small!) and the milestones.
Success is falling 7 times, getting up 8.
What’s the worst that could happen?
If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.
I want to hear YOUR greatest failures. Send them my way and with your permission, I’d love the opportunity to showcase them, anonymously should you choose.
Send me your Greatest Failure stories HERE (subject line: Greatest Failures).