June 9, 2016
Failure. People dread what the word means, and what it entails; they fear and try to avoid it. So what exactly is this term, and why do people cower from it? Webster’s defines failure as “omissions of occurrence of performance, a state of inability to perform a normal function, or a lack of success.”
That’s society’s idea of what failure is, but I suggest changing the narrative of how failure is viewed. Failure is not a lack of success, but rather a necessity for success. Failure is an essential building block for advancement. It lays the foundations for learning and creative thinking, which both indirectly drive holistic and achievable outcomes.
Let’s face it: We humans are flawed. No matter what, we are destined for failure in some capacity. Failure is not a road block that we need to avoid. It’s a part of our lives. How we meet it, and what we learn as a result from it, is what leads us to eventual success.
If success is a destination, there are indeed many different roads that lead to it, with plenty of hurdles and setbacks to deal with along the way. Failure breeds adaptability, which is crucial for success. Effective achievement is driven by a perception and mindset that shows change and failure not as obstacles, but as opportunities for growth and windows into possibilities.
Like Charles Darwin asserted, conflict is the genesis of creation. Because of this, we can recognize that transformation and adaptation are some of our greatest human skills. Failure, then, should give us a sense of self, as well as a sense of our own power and capability. Only at the brink do we, as humans, change. The saying, “If you aren’t being tested, you aren’t being perfected,” has a substantial and inherent truth behind it. Your limits help motivate and institute positive change and favorable outcomes. They force you to think outside of the box to tackle challenges and bumps along the road to success.
So you could say that rather than avoiding failure by all means necessary, it should be something that you embrace and reframe. Now, I’m not saying that people should go out of their ways to seek failure. The success hidden behind failure is often uncovered when you don’t see it coming, and that’s what makes it a learning opportunity. Psychologists even assess growth through adversity and hardship by asking people how much they have changed for the better since a stressful time in their lives.
So, the next time you are feeling down because of a failure, lift your head up and learn something from it. Change the narrative of what failure means to you — how you perceive it, how you will meet it. Will you choose to meet it with reluctant yet open arms? Or will you avoid at all costs and only seek opportunities that “guarantee” success? And, if so, you’ll want to ask yourself: Which is the bigger risk to you in the long run?