Do you remember the first time you failed? Maybe it was when you tried riding your bike without training wheels and wiped out. Or maybe it’s easier to remember that test in school where you received a giant red F in the corner. Even if you can’t recall your first failure, I bet you can list off several examples leading up to the present. From our youth on, failure has been a dark grey cloud looming over us. It can be a continuous challenge to see the achievements in our lives as being greater than our disappointments. But what if we could change that? People have even created a new word, “failure” to describe pushing yourself to your limits. They’ve written articles and created TEDtalks around this expression. What if, instead of having a new word like failure, we redefine failure itself?
Changing the Definition
In order to change the definition of failure, we must first understand the importance of doing so. Viewing failure as a lack of success causes a fear of failure. A fear of failure creates a barrier between ourselves and our highest potential. By nature, when we are afraid to fail, we play it safe because we can assume the end result. Everyone wants to have a sense of security. But a fear of failure can create complacency. Now, I’m not saying go out there and risk everything blindly. There’s a fine line with taking risks and being reckless, but that’s for each person to decide. By embracing failure instead of fearing it, we unlock our mind to endless possibilities to reach our fullest potential.
Part of the Process
I grew up watching the Rocky film series (I was quite the tomboy, but I still love them to this day). In the sixth Rocky film, there’s a scene where he’s giving advice to his son where he tells him:
“Nobody is gonna hit as hard as life, but it ain’t how hard you can hit. It’s how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. It’s how much you can take and keep moving forward.”
Failure is going to hit us and, at times, knock us down. But failure does not and should not be a finality. Imagine, for instance, that you’re walking on the sidewalk and trip. Do you just lay there on the ground? Maybe some friends or strangers walk by and offer you help—do you wave them away and figure “I give up”? Of course not! You would get up in an instant or sometimes, if really injured, you’d take someone’s lending hand. The same is true of failure. When we fail, we may want to throw ourselves a pity party. We might want to figuratively lay there and give up, but that’s foolish. I know I’ve felt this way a lot and it’s a continuous struggle, but we should view failure as the step towards success. If something we try doesn’t work, it just means we are one step further to find a way that does work. We are in the process of elimination. If you’re trying something new, aka putting yourself out there, failure will and should occur. I challenge you to the 24-hour rule. The next time you fail, try to only allow yourself 24 hours to be upset. Then shake it off and move on. It’s part of the process.
It’s ok to ask for help, to take a lending hand to help you get up. We should not be embarrassed by failure. Hearing someone else’s viewpoint on a situation can help us re-evaluate and think differently. Create for yourself a group of honest motivators, not friends that will attend your pity party. I have my go-to group of friends who I know will help pull me up and give me the cold, hard truth even if I don’t want to hear it. I appreciate these friends more than those who simply allow me to wallow in my failures because they’ve helped my personal and professional growth.
The definition of failure as defined by Merriam-Webster’s dictionary as “the lack of success.” This can cause us to shrink back with fear and settle for our average self. This has to change. Allow yourself to try new things and reach your fullest potential by learning and growing from setbacks. Surround yourself with people who push you to be better and never give up. Redefine failure as not the lack of success, but the path to success.
Author: Karli Azar
Author Bio: I’m Karli from Indiana. I believe that creativity should be incorporated in every area of life, from career to hobby. I have found that writing allows me to share my thoughts and opinions in a way that can impact people’s lives for the better.
Link to social media: Instagram @krazyart_