Everybody has a story. The good, bad and very ugly ones but even science proves that humans prefer to hold on to pleasant memories more than they would any unpleasant memory. As a matter of fact, we’d all like to talk more about our accomplishments than our failures. It’s natural but a success story is never interesting if it’s all about how good things were from the beginning and how great they are now, sounds good but very unreal and most people only connect to reality. People hate to fail, I hate to fail but I’ve learned overtime to embrace failure when I need to because that’s how I get successful.
Does your success story have a failure part in it? Listen to every successful person you admire and you’d discover every bit of their successes came through failing, what made them different from the rest was their approach to failure. If your answer to the aforementioned question is negative, then buckle up, you aren’t there yet. True success is not a smooth ride to the top. If your story is all glossy, you really can’t appreciate success because you’ve never had to bear the pains of failing and falling hard. Any person who has ever gotten to the top in business or succeeded at something will have his tale to tell about a failing moment. That time always comes but many don’t prepare for it. What stops most people from getting really far in life is not realising this early on. Failure shouldn’t be avoided, it’s a stepping stone to success. Avoiding failure kills creativity, it gives you excuses instead of a reason to move on- a reason to be successful.
The higher you go, the easier it is to fall. Failure and success are interconnected. This school of thought proves true for so many reasons because as you mount up the praises of people about you, you also straddle along more responsibilities and the higher expectations there are to be met. According to Seth Godin, every business plan fails irrespective of the amount of effort put into it. Business plans or plans generally are meant to go awry, not because you didn’t do a thorough research but plans mostly serve to give you heads up on your path to success. I’d love to say plan to fail but we don’t know how to do that; failure comes in different forms. Which brings me to the next point.
It usually starts with something small. We only see the big failures- a company goes bankrupt, a relationship goes really bad, a marriage fails, you lose 3 jobs in 2 months, you flunked the job interview for the umpteenth time- the very obvious ones- but we often ignore the small things we fail at every so often. The marriage didn’t fail by itself, words must have been left unsaid, too many unresolved issues and one or both parties had felt taken for granted. Company stakeholders didn’t wake up one fine morning to discover the organisation they had been running for years just went bankrupt, the records were staring them in the face all the while, they probably failed to admit there was a problem but instead tried to patch things up for months, maybe years, until they finally threw in the towel. It goes on and on. Celebrating small victories is a good step towards success but ignoring small failures is 5 steps away.
Safe is risky. This obviously goes against the slogan ‘better safe than sorry’. You can stay safe but you’ll most likely be stuck, no growth, no heights, just safe. But then, nothing is sure. You could get fired today for no reason, your résumé may end up in the recruiter’s trash can again, you may lose someone you really care about; or in a different circumstance, you may get a pay raise today for no reason, you may get a good job offer you never asked for, you might meet a new friend today who’ll transform your life for good. None of these is sure, but you’ll never know where you’ll fall if you decide to stay safe.
Why quit now? If you are having it tough, why quit now? You didn’t quit the first day, why now when it all seems bleak and gloomy; why now that you have an interesting piece to add to your success story? You can’t argue with Failure, but with it (and subsequent ones) you’ll be stronger than you could ever possibly imagine. The truth also remains that every human on the face of the earth has the capability to be strong in failing moments, just as we all have the potential to be great.
So there, always have a positive approach to failure, no matter how many times you fail.
I wish you a rocky ride ahead.