Our culture hates failure. Children tend to be punished for failing. Winning is everything in sports, business, and life. So why does failure exist and why is failure seen as a bad thing? Here are five reasons you should accept failure as part of your life.
1 – Failure is a teacher.
No one is perfect at all things. No one accomplishes everything they set out to do. Failure happens. If you accept this fact you can more easily accept failure as part of life. Failure teaches us to do better or do something else. Learn from failures. Success often takes time.
2 – Failure motivates.
Find the motivation that results from failure. If you fail at something, find the energy and emotion needed to try harder (and better) the next time. Failures can cause you to focus. The fear of failure is energy. Channel that energy into overcoming your failure.
3 – Failure isn’t an emotion.
Failure is an outcome. People “fear” failure. I’d argue people don’t like the emotions that arise from failure. The failure itself is emotionless. Failure isn’t fear, and fear isn’t failure. When you decouple the two you realize that failure is just another event, like accidentally knocking over a lamp. People don’t normally fear knocking over a lamp.
The difference is that we tend to have more emotion, energy, and work invested in the task that failed than the lamp. This investment makes it harder to let go of the success we were working toward. Understanding the investment (and controlling it properly) makes failure more acceptable internally. Set proper levels of expectation on your chances for success or failure.
4 – Failure is/isn’t controllable.
If you fail at something, don’t “try try again”. Evaluate why the failure occurred. What control do you have over the elements that caused the failure. Change what you can control. It is also important to note that there may be nothing you could have done differently. Then the failure was random, or inevitable. If it is inevitable, move on to something else. Sometimes trying again is the wrong decision.
5 – Failure isn’t bad
We are all taught to “succeed”, and if you fail you’re a failure. Everyone fails. Everyone fails at something every day. It is important to realize that failing doesn’t mean or make one a failure. Saying “I failed” does not mean, “I am a failure.” Failing doesn’t make one a “bad” person, just as success doesn’t make one a “good” person.
You may not like failure. You may fear failure. But we all live with failure. How we do so is the key.