Failure, as defined by Google, is a “lack of success.” When thinking about failure, the words “is not an option” come to mind immediately afterwards.
What is it about our culture that deems failure as not an option? They make it seem like after you have failed, that’s it, it’s over. Whatever goals that you wanted to achieve, no matter how big or small, you are done. You will have no more chances.
That’s a huge misconception that we all need to change. Failure is an option. I want to go as far as arguing that when it comes to our goals, there are no such thing as failures.
EVERYONE FAILS A LOT – ALL THE TIME
We all have a lack of success in many aspect of our lives. I have lacked success in becoming rich. Meaning I have failed to become rich and amass a great fortune by the textbook definition.
This is also the fourth blog that I have started in the last 6 years. Those three other blogs are failures. Big epic ‘lacks of success’ that hang over my head constantly. This blog is even a failure – I restarted it from scratch last year.
I have also failed to lose-weight and keep that weight off; failed to make it to work on time every day for an entire work week; and failed at keeping my car clean.
There are a lot of things, big or small, that I can call failures. We lack success in a lot of things everyday. We are taking the ‘option of failure’ all the time.
LEVEL OF FAILURE IS BASED ON THE VALUE
The problem with failures comes in when we apply value to them. We are more emotional about goals when we really care about them. We will only label a ‘lack of success’ as a failure when we actual want to be successful.
With all of the examples that I have listed, how many of them do I actually care about? How many of them do I actually label as ‘failures’? Not very many.
Let’s go back to the being ‘rich’ example.
By my own definition I am rich. I have enough money to buy food, shelter, and travel to all the places I want to go in a fair amount of luxury. I don’t place a lot of value on the goal of being rich.
But being rich has a different definition depending on who you ask. Most people think being rich is making millions of dollars and being a part of the top 1%. Those who want to be really rich would think that my 5-figure income is nothing. They would label me as a ‘failure’ at being rich.
If they were in my shoes, they would label themselves as failures. The more they wanted to be rich, the more value they placed on being rich, the more they would feel bad about themselves. Even though to you or me they are not failing at all. This is where labeling your ‘lack of success’ as a failure becomes a detriment to you and your goals.
YOUR CONFIDENCE TAKES A HIT
Unless you are one of those super humans who are ultra motivated by your own lack of success (if those people even exist) there will come a time when you are severely disappointed. You will have a breaking point where you think “Oh no, I have failed. It’s over.”
That label will not only be turned and place on the goal but you will label it onto yourself. You have failed. You are a failure. When we label it this way, as if failure is not an option, we beat ourselves up.
All of our confidence in pursuing this goal will be shattered. This will cause you to give up or stop your pursuit of your goals.
It can take days, months, and even years to regain the confidence to try again. You are constantly reminding yourself what it felt like to fail. It doesn’t feel good. All of the disappointment surrounds you. You may never even regain the confidence. We need to reorient our thinking so that our confidence is never shattered like that again.
FAILURE IS AN OPTION
Do you know why failure is an option? Because we are doing it all the time. As I mentioned before, we are failing all the time.
Failures are also an option because they are not as bad as we think they are. Remember, a failure means something is lacking in success. They are not epic huge downfalls. Failures are just minor bumps in the road or small mistakes. We may be lacking in success now but we can fix that to be more successful later.
We need to learn to temper our expectations. Successes can also be found in the little triumphs and baby steps. We may lack success in one aspect of our goal but we can be very successful in another aspect.
I hate to say it but failures can be a good thing. After picking myself up and trying again, I know what I am capable of and it’s a lot. I know I only need to put in the work in order to get to where I want to be.
The next time you fail, look at the ‘failure’ with a little less hate. Look at your ‘failure’ with a little less pressure and expectation. You learned a lesson you never would have otherwise. You need to pick yourself back up and teach yourself and the world what you are made of.
FAILURE is NOT THE END
The only time it is over is when you say it is. At that breaking point when you know for sure you do not want to pursue a goal anymore or finish something, not because it’s hard, or because you are scared, but because you know it’s not for you. That is when you stop.
Failures are not the end.
There are a million ways to do anything. You have a million different ways that you can try to reach your goals. The method you used to achieve something may have failed but you have not failed.
Once you know that, you have learned you must try another option.
Failures are in the goals or the methods. Those processes were not effective. The process or the method you used have failed. However, you are not a failure.
Failures are just opportunities to learn from your mistakes and improve yourself. The only thing you can get is better as long as you keep trying. Failure is an option, you should allow yourself failure over and over again.
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