Failures and success are strange bedfellows in life but they are meant to be that way because they complement each other. You could view them as arch enemies or good friends, depending on how you treat them or re-frame them in your life.
Take for instance “failure”. It could mean a disastrous calamity in your life for obvious reasons. But why “success”, you might wonder? Because it could lull you to complacency, cause you to relax your guard, and eventually leads you to your failure.
Here are some ways you could re-structure your failures to make them your ladder to your success. And since most failures are hatched in the mind, you have to re-frame your thinking, thus:
- Believe that failure conditions you to success. Just like doing strenuous activities in the gym or at work build up your muscles, so do failures. If you are among the unfortunate ones who never have the chance to experience failures, maybe because you never venture out of your comfort zone and have been living a zombie-like life; or you never try to aim for goals any higher than your ankles.
It is time for you to get moving now if you are to succeed. Aim for higher goals and do not be frightened of the challenges you are sure to meet as you move on and higher. They would condition your mind for success and the more challenges you encounter, the stronger you get.
- Believe that failure provides sturdy stepping stones. When you cross a stream or climb up to a higher ground, you would not choose wobbly stones to step on. You would choose strong steps to give you confidence that you could cross or climb safely and fast. The same is true when climbing up the ladder to success. You make sure that you attain success the sure and safe way and failures provide these steps. Experiences gained from failures are like brick steps that are made sturdy by super heated furnace of trials. They could support you and hold their ground in difficult situations.
Good examples of the famous people who made failures their stepping stones are:
- Michael Jordan who had missed 9000 shots in his career and lost 300 games before he became a great payer he is now.
- Colonel Sanders of KFC whose chicken recipe was turned down 1009 times before getting 1 approval.
- Steven Spielberg who was turned down twice by UCLA to study film making and yet directed later the best films ever to hit the cinema screen.
- The Beatles were turned down many times by recording companies but recorded among the biggest hits in history of modern music.
- Tim Ferris of “4 Hour Workweek” fame was turned down by 26 publishers before 1 gave him the chance that made his book land on the New York bestseller list.
- Believe that failure is the best teacher there is. Do not be afraid of failure. Perhaps, there is no better teacher in life than failure. It teaches lessons not found in most books and offers on-the-job training to drive home the knowledge learned. Some of the lessons failure teaches may cost a lot in terms of emotion, energy, and lost money but they get implanted deeply into the minds where they become strong and unforgettable guides towards success.
- Believe that failure does not make up the real you. Learn to separate failure from who you really are. Failure is merely the outcome of an experience and does not describe you as a person. Just like losing in a game of basketball does not mean you are always a loser all your life; or missing a bus to work means you are born a turtle that would lose every opportunity in life. Learn to separate your self esteem from your failures.
Besides, having failed simply means you had the courage to actually try things out and not to dream merely about them. In fact, you should congratulate yourself for your bravery.
- Believe you are not anybody’s puppet. Refuse to be dangled like a puppet by anybody else’s string of opinions and expectations of you. Do not be affected by people who consider you a failure. Everyone has opinion that is usually based on his/her own personal biases that are irrelevant to yours, so why be concerned by them at all? Unless those criticisms thrown at you are constructive, ignore them. Actually, you are not obliged to heed even the well-meant advice if they go against your own personal convictions and values. Be discerning of whom and what to listen about you.
Admittedly, some failures are beyond your control but that should not stop you from rising above them. Failures, regardless of their nature, could be harnessed to your advantage depending on how you treat them. Although they are difficult to control at times, you could control your reaction to them. Treat them as failures, a sure recipe for disaster, and they bring you down; treat them as lessons, they work to your advantage because they could strengthen you. It is all a matter of mindset—of mind over matter and you call the shots!