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Embracing Failure

by BK Johnsen 6 months ago in advice
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A formula for success?

Embracing Failure
Photo by the blowup on Unsplash

"Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It's quite simple, really: Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn't at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, so go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember, that's where you will find success."

- Thomas J. Watson

Nothing is perfect, so if you look for failure, you will definitely find it. There are many ways in which we fail. Whether it's at work, with our friends or family, doing laundry and dishes - there is no such thing as a perfect day!

But failure is not something to be ashamed of; when you embrace failure it can become an opportunity for growth and learning. Many great people throughout history have acknowledged the importance of failure which can be viewed as an inevitable stepping stone for success. Coco Chanel put it very well when she said: "Success is most often achieved by those who don't know that failure is inevitable."

So, here are some of my thoughts that I hope may shine a little light on the subject of embracing failure:

1. The negative aspects of failure might not really exist unless you react negatively to them.

"Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond to it."

–Charles Swindoll

I was reading a recent social media post from a friend, and in it she said "I'm making mistakes on purpose! It's a great way to get better at the things you want to in life!" And it really made me wonder: are mistakes or failures only negative if you react negatively to them?

It seems like when things go wrong or I make a mistake, the worst feelings come from how I react and not just my failure. It's not the failure itself that creates all the negativity, but a large part of it comes from our thoughts and emotions in response to it. If we react by giving up when things go wrong instead of learning, greater mistakes are made, then greater failures occur. So, the true problems with failure might only occur when we give up in response to it.

The less we focus on the negative aspects of failure, the higher the possibility to use our failures as motivation or as a tool for self-improvement.

2. Embracing failure does not mean you are happy about failure. No one wants to fail.

"Success is how high you bounce when you hit bottom."

–George S. Patton

Embracing failure does not mean being happy when it happens, it means you have accepted that failures are both inevitable and a necessary step in the journey towards success/improvement. You have given yourself permission to take risks without being so attached to your desired outcome. You have accepted the possibility of failure as a part of everyone's life.

If we try to be happy with failure instead of embracing it, we immediately stop improving and eliminate many future chances of success. So, remember when you try to embrace failure that you should not try to be happy or feel good from failing. No one can really feel good about their own failures… We all know that failure sucks!

It's just a truth about life that sometimes it doesn't work out the way you expected or wanted. The experiences you go through during this journey called life are what ultimately shape who you become as an individual - not whether or not something worked out as planned.

So, while there might not be any happiness in embracing failure, there is also no shame in failing. Just look at all the great people who have failed before you ever did: Everyone!

3. Acceptance is important in helping get back to a positive mindset.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that."

-Martin Luther King Jr.

Acceptance seems two-pronged: accepting human nature in people and accepting your life circumstances.

In all of us, we have positives and negatives. A large part of accepting human nature is understanding that there will always be aspects of every person we don't really like, within both ourself and others. It can be quite difficult to embrace failure if you do not try to keep an eye on the positive in every person you get to know. Especially yourself.

As for accepting life's circumstances, it is not really possible to change things that happened in the past, but it is possible to change your attitude towards them. There will always be good days and bad days. Unfortunately, there will be periods in all our lives when the good days seem few and far between.

Acceptance is a huge factor in creating a positive mindset for yourself so you can try to make those bad days seem shorter and less frequent. With a positive mindset, the varying circumstances of your daily life will be much easier to handle day-to-day and it will relieve stress and worries for your future self too!

Conclusion - Your failures will lead to success.

"We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success. We often discover what will do, by finding out what will not do; and he who never made a mistake never made a discovery."

―Samuel Smiles

Instead of letting failure get you down, some questions we can ask ourselves to remind us that failure is a part of everything are: What do I really want from this?, Why am I doing this?, What will I do once I encounter failures?, and If I fail miserably, what is the worst that can happen?

Success and failure often go hand-in-hand in our lives. And the sooner we embrace this reality, the better off we will be on a personal level as well as feeling more at peace with ourselves and our failures. A big first step to embracing failure is understanding it for what it really is - an opportunity to learn about yourself by doing something new or challenging that you never thought you could do before. Embrace your mistakes and learn from them; they may just lead to a whole new world of opportunities!


About the author

BK Johnsen

Author of 𝐵𝑒𝑓𝑜𝑟𝑒 𝑌𝑜𝑢 𝐹𝑎𝑙𝑙 & 𝘓𝘢𝘥𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘜𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥, streamer, podcaster, entrepreneur, karaoke-enthusiast, & Jedi. Born in Seattle, I now live in Japan with my wife, working on keeping my own Pride in check.

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