failure pic

Failure is painful. It’s scary, it’s disappointing, it gets you down. But it is also inevitable, powerful and necessary. A recent failure caused me to think deeply about re-framing my thoughts differently, in a more constructive helpful manner. Some reading around reminded me that the people who fail the most are the most successful, because these people actually challenge themselves; they learn and grow, and don’t get defeated. Those who don’t fail are those who resign to live a bland comfortable life because they are too afraid to fail.

Pretty much everyone fails at everything at some point. Whether it’s exams/tests/interviews, relationships, achieving personal goals, new skills we try to learn etc. Life is full of mistakes and stumbles and failures, but what defines is is not our failures but rather how we learn and grow from them.

I too am guilty of this fantasy of nothing ever going wrong, achieving everything I try, and of everything going exactly to my plan. But one realises that this fantasy does nothing but cause endless suffering. Life is messy and imperfect and random, but really there’s no other way for it to be. Do you think you’d have been able to be as happy in all your most cherished and loved moments, if you also did not have the terrible, heartbreaking moments to compare to?

These are some things to remember when going through a tough time. There are always two options. To learn and grow and build character from the hardships or let them destroy you. We humans would not be where we are today if we let failures destroy us. A good way of re-framing thoughts after a failure is to look logically at what works best. Say you fail an exam; you can either beat yourself up and stress out, reducing your brain function, memory and concentration and probably fail again if you retried. OR you can look at what went wrong, and study for it harder or in a different way, realising that mental resilience will increase your chances of success your second try.

There is no shame in failure. Even if you fail 100 times. We all know the stories of how Oprah got fired from her first job, JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books got rejected by multiple publishers before Bloomsbury accepted it and Thomas Edison failed thousands of times before inventing the lightbulb. As the picture above illustrates, we often forget just how much failure is necessary before success. Cultivating mental resilience in the face of failure is one of the greatest things you can do for yourself.

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