I have reached some incredibly low points and moments that many would consider to be failures. Not convinced?
During my time in college, I was removed from my university after only my first semester and subsequently banned from campus until further notice.
At 18 years old, I slowly watched everything slip from my grasp. This led to dark twists in friendships, a repulsive lack of self-confidence and a future cluttered by my own personal turmoil.
As a teenager, I thought I had lost it all. There would be no high paying job, there would be no worldly travel and I was off my rocker if I thought anyone was to ever associate with me again. I had hit the lowest of the low.
Fortunately, the people around me gave me the opportunities I needed to prove my worth not only to them, but myself. I set out to prove my self-loathing thoughts to be incorrect.
I came to realize this is my game and I can simply not win by being on the bench. It was along this path that I discovered that my failures may not define me, but they sure as hell built me.
The word failure is quite subjective in the sense that a failure to one person may not necessarily be viewed as such to someone else. Failures teach you more than successes — check out the keys to a successful failure:
1. Have A Goal Or End Game In Sight
Having a goal in sight — an objective that you want to accomplish through meaningful tasks — is the most important step in any game plan.
If you can look at the moment when your progress began to halt or you believe you truly “failed,” can you say that you had an end game in sight? If so, stop seeing big red letters that read FAIL in your head and learn from this moment.
Individuals who just “wing it” rarely reach their goals because they never identified them in the first place. Having a clear goal in your head keeps you driven and allows you to focus on the small steps along the way.
2. Understanding The Root Cause
One of the strongest tools we have for being capable of cognizant thought is to control how our minds react to situations.
When you have reached a shortcoming in your plan, it is just that: a shortcoming. There is no changing the fact it is a glitch in what you thought was your flawless plan and now something must be done if you are truly committed.
We waste too much time becoming angry, agitated and dismissive. Take time for yourself and write down what may have caused your failure in that instance.
Was it a personal flaw? Did something occur financially that was not planned? Maybe it was simply underdeveloped planning but at least you now know! Sit down, analyze weak points in the path and enable yourself to efficiently allocate resources to the issue.
3. Willingness To Explore
So, you failed and you never want to try something new again. Did you try to break boundaries? If so, then I call bullsh*t!
There are far too many in the world who are comfortable with the status quo — far too many who are willing to sit by, have someone change the world for them and suck up all the glory while their legacies drift off in the dismal wind of time.
Doing something out of your comfort zone, larger than you but with a clear path is something at which I would be proud to fail. Picking myself up and falling, time and time again, making those necessary adjustments along the way.
You have undoubtedly heard quotes of famous entrepreneurs, like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, claim their numerous failures — Thomas Edison claimed to have failed over thousands of times.
4. Accepting Failure As Inevitable
If you can take on a new venture understanding that failure confronts all those who have dreams, you are ahead of the game.
You are already set for the failure and put your mind in motion to react to these situations. Instances of downfalls and unexpected turns will be met with swift action instead of periods of doubt.
You were aware that everyone falls, but the people who change the world fall, army crawl to the next success, flip their feet and smash failure in the face.
It is like having the ultimate blueprint for battle. I would much rather follow a general who understands weak points than one who is blind to them. If you internalized failure as inevitable, you have found a key to failure and will promptly kick it in the ass.
5. You Failed. Try Again. And Again.
The most important key may be our final one. Get over your failure. Get over the fact that it did not play out how as you wanted and everything was not unicorns and rainbows from the start.
No one has a good time if they believe they are stuck in a rut and doomed to the short end of the stick all of the time. You know what is a good time?
Standing up taller than you were before you first fell, working your ass off and changing your future. These moments are not failures if you do not regard them as such. These are moments we are meant to prove our worth.
When I was kicked out of college after one semester, I could have easily dropped my goal of obtaining a degree — but that was not my end game.
I went in to school knowing that classes were going to be more demanding, I had more time to myself than ever before and no one controlled what I did. I learned the hard way. I never failed.
I cannot count the times I thought my world was ending and I thought I lost everything that meant anything to me. I worked to get myself reinstated at the same exact school, grinded day in and day out and made dean’s list for the next five semesters.
I went from being a freshman, who could not hang for a full year, to an honors graduate of an accredited business program. Failure is bullsh*t — I call it motivation.
Photo via We Heart It