Life After Failure

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.
Colin Powell

Failure is good. Don’t fear failure. Welcome and embrace failure. Failure can catapult you to massive success. I have lost count of the number of times that I have encountered these phrases and many, many more. I wholeheartedly believe that failure can be a powerful force for good in our lives, but we are not always being given the full story or advised on how to capitalise on it.

We are advised that we should see failure in a positive light. There is nothing wrong with  adopting a positive outlook when faced with failure, but the truth is that failure can only be positive if you do something about it. Do nothing, and failure can actually be incredibly destructive. Not only can it destroy your self confidence and halt your progress in its tracks, but it can lead crushing self doubt and negative self-talk. Burdened by these, it’s not hard to see why some people abandon their goals, and settle for a safer, more comfortable life.

I, and countless others, have failed more times than I care to remember. I have failed spectacularly in things both big and small, because I was always taught that you give your all in everything you do. The more you put into something which subsequently fails, the bigger the failure. You’d be forgiven for thinking that I am now massively successful as a result of having failed so many times. The truth is that my progress has been somewhat slower than it should have been, and unspectacular, despite the failures and all of their lessons. Why? Simply put, I have not always taken action following failure.

Failure can only be positive if you do something about it. It won’t be easy, and will hurt, but it is vital. Take action and you will learn and grow from the experience. Do nothing, and you risk not only stagnating, but also failing in the same way again and again. So, what can you actually do following a setback? The list below is by no means definitive, but has worked for me;

  • Reflection. Look back and analyse what happened. It is painful to revisit a bad experience, but also essential. What can you learn from the experience? Can you identify any actions or decisions which led to failure? If you could start again, what would you do differently?
  • Goal Setting. With the new knowledge acquired, and a clear idea of your strengths, weaknesses and the options open to you, revisit your goals. Do any of them need to be amended or replaced?
  • ACTION. It’s all in capital letters for a reason. Taking action after suffering a failure is vital to maintaining your confidence and momentum. It is action, after all, which brings results. Add to that the fact that knowledge without action is useless, and you have a very strong reason to get back up after you’ve been knocked down.

 

Failure is a part of life. For everybody. What separates the successful people from the rest, is how they respond to it. Dwelling on what went wrong is a recipe for disaster, whereas reflecting on the experience and learning from it can catapult you to success. That said, all the knowledge in the world counts for nothing without action. So, don’t let a bump in the road bring your personal development journey to halt. Be prepared to accept failure as part of the process, and when it comes take some time to reflect on it and learn from it before setting out again on your journey.

Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.
Winston Churchill

 

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