By definition, failure is ‘lack of success’ or the ‘inability to perform a function.’ So how is it that failure can be powerful? Let me explain.
In the past, my husband and I spoke about what actions of ours we share with family and friends. We became aware that we only liked to disclose our successes and triumphs with others. I asked myself why that is. Why do we perceive only our fruitful endeavors as worthy of full disclosure? Does it have to do with a society that is only accomplishment-driven? No failures allowed? But then, we always say that we learn from our mistakes, right? Does this mean that we learn from what we hide?
The Science of Character Institute (VIA) states that individuals who acquire a broad mindset are much more likely to build resiliency and strength in the face of adversity than those people with a fixed mindset. All of us experience disappointment or loss at some point during our lifetime. It is the way we react that makes us different. Are we coping through a single-minded reaction entering the fight-or-flight modus (fixed mindset), or are we looking immediately for new solutions and new ways to turn the situation around (broad mindset)? You decide which category you fall under.
My point is that we put ourselves under enormous pressure. It is a burden having to perform consistently, having to be perfect for others. It is a masquerade and we pretend to be who we are not. I personally believe that all of us have lows, when we feel like staying in bed for the entire day would be the best thing to do, when we feel overwhelmed with some of the tasks that are on our to-do-list… but what is truly harmful is the stress we inflict upon ourselves. This leads to anxiety and depression if we cannot achieve what we had set out to accomplish. Unless, we see our failures as stepping stones; as only one puzzle piece in a huge symbiosis of other parts. Maybe at that point in time, we do not see that a different piece may fit better. However, if we have the trust and perseverance to move on, the orchestra will come together and perform beautifully at the end of the day; saying that sometimes we need to let go of our control mechanism and simply trust. Showing faith in God, a Higher Power, or the Universe (whatever you may call it) includes seeing our failures as new opportunities, as a way of guidance from above showing us that maybe this was not the path we were meant to take or a lesson that had to be learned.
So, may I suggest trying authenticity for a change? When we relieve ourselves of worrying about others’ opinions about us, we actually enter a space of being, which is hard to describe. It simply feels right. At that point, nothing in your body objects to life anymore. Actions, activities, situations, and interactions come together effortlessly. And if some do not, then I take it as a hint that it simply was not meant to be or that the time was not right for it and move on. Having arrived at that state of mind feels powerful through liberation. It is the freedom from upholding a facade. I would like to encourage you to stand up for yourself and learn to say “I am human. I will always try my best, but I can experience failure too. Then, I will see it as a lesson learned, as a new beginning, as a powerful tool to realign my focus to move forward.”
Oh, and please feel free to share this liberating power of failure. It will not only nurture yourself but also others in your environment. We will then begin to see the people we interact with in a different light. Relationships will begin to form and communities will arise. We will support each other and form new bonds. Instead of jealousy, suspicion, envy, resentment and distrust, there will be collaboration, encouragement, care, confidence, relief AND the reassurance in that we are each accomplished in our own perfect way.