We live in a success oriented culture where we imagine self-worth is linked to ‘success’. Notions of success vary and can be linked to personal ambition as well as public approval.
Most of us allow our strivings for success, conscious or otherwise, to lend both shape and purpose to our lives, whether we are deliberately setting our sights on it or simply attempting to avoid failure.
But being open to failure may be an advantage in life and, paradoxically, an important factor in achieving success. We accept that in many things we do we must experience failure as part of the learning process, but failure doesn’t disappear just because we become proficient at something.
Assuming that it does is a mistake, and struggling to avoid failure not only a waste of energy but also acts as brake on our efforts to succeed.
Success begins with action
The key idea here is that we don’t achieve anything unless we have a crack at it; we have to get out there and try things in the belief that action will bring learning, growth and eventually, success.
We all know this instinctively and yet we still allow our behaviour to be shaped by unaddressed anxiety and outdated fears. This stifles creativity, hinders ambition and prevents us from reinforcing positive beliefs about ourselves.
Accept failure and thrive
Learning to accept failure as part of the bigger picture enables us to try new things with more confidence and focuses our attention on where we want to go. Worrying about failing keeps us stuck in the detail of where we are, what could go wrong how we’ll look if it does.
Focusing on goals and ambition gives us direction and purpose.
Being comfortable with setback, the possibility of rejection and even failure is an advantage and a critical factor in achievement and success. As Winston Churchill said, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
So learning to be comfortable with failure is important if we seek success. My advice? Go out and practice failing. Do this in private first just to get comfortable with it.
When you have mastered the acceptance of private failure with ease, go public. Once you an accept failure with a audience, and still do it with grace, you’ll be on the way to new discoveries about yourself.
Being comfortable with the idea of failure doesn’t mean liking it, it means acceptance that getting it wrong sometimes is inescapably a part of getting it right eventually.
History has provided endless examples of this phenomenon as this short video shows. Once we embrace failure as a part of the path to success we free ourselves from its drag and can invest more fully in creativity.