It’s no secret that life is never going to be pure and simple. Challenges and disappointments, as well as achievements and great joy, are all part of the rich tapestry of our lives. If we had everything just right, with nothing more to strive for or dream of, it might seem appealing but in fact, part of the fulfilment comes from succeeding against the odds or knowing that with a little more effort or doing things differently, rewards might come.
Failure is an important part of life, as it teaches us the value of things and makes us realise our strengths and weaknesses. But we all hate to fail. We’re scared of it, we dread it, and we hold onto it when it happens to us.
So how can we change the way we think about failure? There are ways of coping with difficult situations, and overcoming the obstacles that life throws at us so effectively.
1. Don’t take it personally.
This can really affect your self confidence and esteem. Just because you haven’t found a successful way of doing something (yet) doesn’t mean you are a failure.
Did you know a newspaper editor fired Walt Disney because ‘he lacked imagination, and had no good ideas?!’ That Lord Alan Sugar has risen to huge wealth and power – despite only ever having one GCSE. Imagine how far they would have got if they’d given up then!
2. Take stock, learn and adapt.
Try to look at the failure without getting upset and think about why you failed to achieve that goal. What might have produced a better outcome? Was the failure completely beyond your control? After gathering the facts, step back and ask yourself, what did I learn from this? Think about how you will apply this newfound insight going forward.
Thomas Edison reportedly failed 10,000 times while he was inventing the light bulb. He was quoted as saying, “I have found 10,000 ways something won’t work. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.”
3. Let it go.
Overly thinking about your failure will not change the outcome. In fact, it will only make it feel worse. You cannot change the past, but you can shape your future. The faster you take a positive step forward, the quicker you can leave these negative thoughts behind.
4. Give up caring what others think about you.
Often our fear of failure is rooted in our fear of being judged and losing others’ respect and esteem. We care too much about what others might say about us. Remember, this is your life, not theirs. If you give too much power to others’ opinions, it will undermine your passion and confidence, holding you back from ultimately succeeding.
5. Try thinking about things from a fresh perspective.
The way we are brought up has shaped the way we think about failure, One of the best things you can do is to shift your perspective and belief system away from the negative, for example, “If I fail, it means I am stupid, weak, incapable, and am destined to fall short”, to thinking about the same things in a different way, “If I fail, I am one step closer to succeeding; I am smarter and more savvy because of the knowledge I’ve gained through this experience.”