Day 6: What is Failure Anyway?

Day 6 S-366-LYDoG:

Mistakes are lessons learned

Today I am grateful for failure.

Wait! What?? By now you already know I’m completely off my rocker so I’m not sure why you’re so surprised.

Truly, I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of failure. What is failure anyway?

According to Dictionary.com it is a noun meaning an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success: or a person or thing that proves unsuccessful.

I don’t know about you but, those definitions carry a negative connotation in my mind. Maybe it comes from our culture or, maybe it is just inherently human nature that we view failing as being undesirable. I’m probably not the only person who harbors deep fears in regards to failure.

In fact, these are the words or phrases that typically come to mind when I think of failing:

Less than, worthless, not useful, unlovable, not worthy, beaten, loser, lacking, garbage

But why? Why must failure be such a negative thing. Why not have a positive outlook? Instead of being less than or worthless, why not see the experience as being full of learning and worthy of praise for the effort. Failure also doesn’t define who we are, it doesn’t mean that someone is worthless or unlovable, beaten or a loser. Quite the opposite can be true in that it can be proof that someone overcame a fear, proof that a person is capable of picking themselves up and starting over, or proof that we are capable of learning a new and different way of thinking or being.

I’ve decided that the only failure that is, quote unquote bad, is the failure to try at all. Don’t you think that the fear of failure is probably what holds us back from the ability to move forward in the first place? I do, I find nothing as paralyzing as the fear of failing. What is truly sad is that fear itself can push us into a corner where we suffer the worst failure of all, the failure to risk success. If we fail to risk, we fail to learn, and when we fail to learn, we fail to progress. I can think of nothing more frustrating in life than feeling “stuck.”

In the end, as much as failure scares me, I can honestly look back and say that I’m grateful for my failures and mistakes because they represent the fact that I didn’t allow fear to paralyze me. I would actually like to change the way I look at failure and instead of seeing it with all of those negative connotations I believe it can actually be seen as a course correction.

This isn’t to say that being unsuccessful won’t be disappointing; rather, that those disappointments can be seen as opportunities to learn. For instance, I can tell you from personal experience that it only takes burning yourself at the tender nape of your neck once or twice before you learn to be more careful with your curling iron.

Am I right Ladies?!?

You’re correct, this is a very minor illustration of the concept I’m trying to convey. On a broader scale I can say that the more effort I expend toward an “unsuccessful” attempt at something, the more spectacularly I fail, and therefore the more significant the lesson learned. This is why I’ve been trying to see my failures as an opportunity to learn and grow. Sure, maybe I’m not headed in the direction I had originally intended but, often I find myself either having avoided an originally unforeseen danger or, better yet, I’m headed in a new direction that is far better than the first.

That is my gratitude for the day. Gratitude for all of the failures I’ve experienced in life both great and small that have taught me. Gratitude for the opportunity to correct my course. Gratitude that failure doesn’t define me and, most of all, gratitude that failure isn’t the end but a new beginning.

So get out there and fail at something today. Put your whole heart and soul into everything you do and then, in the end, you will know that succeed or fail you did your best and that is what truly counts!

I’m still quite sick today so seeing as I’ve failed to improve I will take this as a nudge in a different direction and instead of running the errands that I had planned I will walk back to my bed and sleep off this nastiness.

See? Nothing wrong with a good course correction now and again.

Stina

 

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