Dealing with the “F” Word

by Nicholas George on May 27, 2011

One of the realities we all face is not always succeeding at something the way we would like to succeed.  Many times we get results much different than we originally planned.  Unfortunately when this happens most of us call this f…  f…  failure (shudder, shudder.)

I hate the word and all the negative images it garners.  It has turned into a useless word, serving no purpose except to foster pessimistic and depressing feelings.  Instead of “well that didn’t work, what else can I try” has turned into “that didn’t work; I guess I’m hopeless and nothing will ever work.”  In a way, “failure” is a lot like its cousin “can’t,” in that it allows us to give up or quit. 

Like some many things in our life, how we decide to react to this “f” word is our choice.  We can choose to use it as a learning experience to grow or a pit of despair that stops us in our tracks.  While we all would like to succeed the first time through on all of our endeavors (me included), in reality we don’t learn from succeeding; we learn from failing.

If you don’t believe me, think of any invention ever created.  Start to look into its history and you’ll find stacks of “failures” before it was ready to be famous.  What brought each of the great inventions into being was the ability of its creator to see failing as a next step instead of an end step.

You can win at failing too by learning from your experiences.  Choose to have a different perspective; one that finds the opportunities in the situation instead of the giving up.  Trying something that doesn’t work only makes the method incorrect.  It’s not personal.  Method’s not working has nothing to do with who you are; just what you did.   The follow three keys will help you turn “failure” into a means to grow and learn:

  • Keep focus on the method; not the person (you)
  • Look at the situation
  • Learn from the experience

There will be times when you look at the situation and learn, you’ll decide the best course of action is to quit what you were doing and focus on something completely different.  Make it your conscious choice.

Remember, it’s not about how many times you fall down; it’s about how many times you get back up.  The easy part is you only have to get back up one more time than you’ve fallen to be on your path to success.

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