Failures abound in this world. From the beggar on the street to the business upstart that never managed to get his business off the ground. Much has been written about this topic though few are able to understand it. Few grasp the intimate nature that failure and success have with each other.
“80% of success is showing up” – Woody Allen
Few understand that failure can be either your friend or your foe, choosing instead to allow it to dictate what happens in their own miserable lives and spend the rest of their days whinging about not possessing enough resources to attain the material wealth of Bill Gates.
“Failure is not an option. Success is.” – Anonymous
Ever get the feeling it’s not worth getting up to face life’s trials replayed endlessly (with just few variations in between)? The problems you face are yours and solely yours to deal with as you choose. “Wait”, you say. “Choose? I have a choice?” Simply put. Yes. We all do. We are given key choices every day. Essentially, the choice is this. (No, not the blue or red pill) Do you tackle your challenges head on? Or do you duck aside and let things happen to you?
“It’s a hard knock life.” – Annie
Each day we get knocked down by various challenges. You’ve read about how we should respond to our challenges by just getting up when we get knocked down. Hard, isn’t it? You feel so tired after getting knocked down by yet another of life’s challenges. In the lifetime match against life in the other corner, you’re getting your rubdown and you’re trying to psyche yourself to face life in another round of knocks.
Hold on there. Reality check. Why struggle so hard against life, fighting your way through each round? No wonder you’re tired! Everywhere you read that you’re supposed to get up when people knock you down, but what happens after getting knocked down for the millionth time? Do you still have the energy to get back up?
Motivational speakers speak of bouncing back from defeat. Note they didn’t say struggle back up or standing up again after defeat. They all talk about bouncing back or something extremely similar to it. Just think a bit. Bouncing back? How?
In boxing, they talk about rolling with the punch. Now imagine a setback as someone pushing you down. Imagine falling, then rolling as you hit the ground and using the momentum gained from the roll to get up quickly. If you can harness that momentum, you can get back faster and higher then you ever could from a stationary start. To jump up, you need to bend down a little.
Our lifetime challenge is this: Do we spit in the face of failure and press on? Or do we follow the words of Homer Simpson? “You tried your best and failed miserably. The lesson, is never try [again].”
Some definitions of failure = Let down, fiasco, not a success. Notice that last definition of failure, not a success. Essentially, it all boils down to one thing. When you fail at something you simply did not succeed in getting the result you desired. True failure happens when you stop trying to reach for your dreams. When you stop having dreams, you’re dead to the world.
“If I try, knowing there is little hope in succeeding, I risk failure. Not trying assures it.” – Anonymous.
Note: While researching this article, I stumbled upon a website that uses the word you’re searching for and finds as many links to it from its site as possible. By a quirky twist of fate, the site also had a section that went something like “If failure was a pet, and you were writing a manual for the ‘Care and Feeding of your Failure’, what advice would you give?”. They even gave an example to help start you off, “Failure: It is very easy to care for. Be sure to give it daily attention and it will grow big and strong.” I think too many of us spend way too much time feeding ourselves with thoughts of failure. Why not use all that time and energy to nurture success instead of failure? Why would you want to spend so much time and energy focusing on something you don’t want happening?
This article was first published on RainTiger.com in 2006 and was part of a monthly series of motivational writings that were loosely titled, ‘Forward ever’. I’m forever grateful for that opportunity to have my work in print, even if it was ‘only’ in the online space. I remember the original motivation of this article was to have a deep look at some mistaken beliefs we often have of ourselves. I hope I succeeded though at the end of the day, that’s for you, the reader, to judge for yourself.