Many of us have been conditioned to fear failure from a very early age. In school, for instance, a lower grade may attract punishment from tutors and parents and often ridicule from peers.
Very rarely do we hear people we look up to talking about their everyday failures. In fact, often, we only hear about how people overcame their failures in stories that gloss over the grim details of the experiences they went through.
The fear of failure can keep us from taking risks, getting out of our comfort zones, and harnessing opportunities that could potentially turn our lives around.
Whereas it would be simplistic to say, ‘stop fearing failure’, because that can take time, we have put together a number of steps that you can take to help you harness opportunities that failure may present.
Lesson 1: It’s not about wrong or right: change your mindset
Life is never always about wrong or right. Just because you have not been successful at something doesn’t make you wrong or a failure. In life, every attempt is an opportunity to learn; an opportunity to get better at something. But for you to get better, you must learn to embrace failure; this calls for a change in attitude. What you do after failure plays an important role in this change. When you fail, do you seek to understand what you could have done differently, or do you sink into a pit of despair thinking about all the other times you have not excelled? If you do the latter, it’s time to change perspective. The next time you fall short at something, reflect on what you could have done differently and approaches that you have used in the past that helped you to soar. Put your energy into what you can change which is how you deal with similar challenges in the future and not the past, which is already set.
Lesson 2: Start small
A change in mindset or attitude takes time. So, you should be kind to yourself by setting realistic expectations. It’s normal to panic and to feel disappointed and a whole range of other emotions. What can be helpful is to allow yourself a moment to sift through and to acknowledge these feelings. This is a key step to moving on because when you are aware of the kind of feelings you are dealing with, you may find it easier to cope. When you are calmer, it’s time for you to reflect on the experience. When doing so, you should start with the positives. What did you do well or what went well? What did you learn from the experience? Always remember to affirm yourself by reminding yourself of your strengths, skills, talents and the fact that you are committed to helping yourself heal and learn from the experience.
Self-affirmation shouldn’t only be done in trying times. Always remember to be your own cheerleader not only by looking after yourself physically but by constantly reminding yourself that you are capable, deserving, good enough. Try to always see yourself in the best light.
Lesson 3: Find people that bring out the best in you
Remember the old saying that you cannot swim with the ducks if you want to soar like an eagle? When you are going through a rough patch, the last thing you need are people who are negative and always looking out for the worst in others and the world. We are not saying that you should replace your friends, we are simply saying that you might want to stay away from those with a negative vibe. In other words, hang out with people that will not only laugh with you at your silliness but also help you to pick up the broken pieces and move on.
And, always remember,
“failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently”
– Henry Ford-
Image credit: Ted Talks