Failure isn’t something we discuss openly, yet it’s something we all experience. Every single one of us. We all fail and have failed at some point in our lives. It’s not fun to talk about or go through, and this post may already be bringing to mind some memories that sting., but let’s just get it out there.
Failure does not define us but it sort of does define us
Actually failure does define us in away. A positive way!
Every failed experience is a lesson to be learned. It has helped me grow! Failure has taught me to experience and cope with feelings and emotions such as defeat, regret, and remorse. It has made me much stronger, more aware, resilient, adaptable. (However, it has yet to make me a better driver.)
However, just because an endeavour was unsuccessful does not mean it is without value. The failed Columbia mission is one example of this.
The goal of the Columbia space shuttle mission was to launch safely into space, perform scientific experiments, and to land safely on earth. This is what the crew and the people at the Houston space centre attempted. This mission was successful until re-entry when the shuttle disintegrated without warning. The goal was not achieved and seven astronauts tragically lost their lives.
This failure does not mean this tragedy was without value, importance, and significance.
It forced NASA to reexamine its contingencies. NASA was compelled to look carefully at its organization structure, independent contractors, and engineering practices. Congress demanded accountability and was forced to re-examine its budget practices concerning space exploration. Surely, this is a valuable thing to come from a horrible failure.
We learned the value of “special forces” and developed new tactics to fight in environments where tanks were less efficient than airstrikes. These lessons better prepared us for modern warfare.
These important changes show the value that can come from failure, yet it would be preferable if we did not have to pay such a high price to learn such lessons.
The Columbia space tragedy and the Vietnam War…both demonstrate how events perceived as failures can still have value.
Here are two things I’ve learned and experienced over the years.
Many or most people in my life are supportive. Just as my friends and family were rooting for me at the new job, they are rooting for me now as I look for new opportunities. I can’t think of a single negative thing anyone has said to me about leaving my job.
I have always believed that friends can help you celebrate good times and provide support during tough times. Friends and family do not have to come forward and be actively active in their support — I am not expecting that. A passive approach works well and goes a long way.
Do not tell your problems to everyone. be careful who you trust and tell your problems. Not everyone who smiles at you is your friend. Yes, do share your information with a few and make sure what’s your expectation behind it? Are you looking for emotional support or help?
Never tell your problems to everyone. 80% don’t care and the other 20% are glad you have them
And, YES failure has made me more focused, productive, more informed, and resilient.
I would not be the person that I am today had I not made the mistakes I have made. And I like who I am today.
One of my favorite sayings is, “Fall seven times, stand up eight.” It’s pretty much the first thing I told myself when I quit my job. It keeps me positive and focused, and reminds me that life comes with failure, but the true failure would be staying down. Get up again!
When people first learned that I was giving up a secure, well-paying job to start a new job in a totally different field with less pay and a crazy work schedule, they thought I was a little crazy and may have been a bit sceptical. When they understood that I was pursuing a dream, they were incredibly supportive. I took a risk and gave up the good thing I had going for me.
As one friend put it, “I planned, I sacrificed, and I leaped.” I didn’t go into it blindly and unprepared. I was at a place in my life where I was able to take the risk.
Every time I failed, I changed my thought process. To not try is to fail. Trying something takes courage.
Whether or not I succeed, I’ve likely learned something new and grown as a person — and, this is not a failure.
Anshul Kumar is a productivity consultant, YouTuber, and blogger who strives to write rich and meaningful content. He enjoys exploring the principles, strategies, and tools that help people live happier, healthier, more productive lives. While he’s most active on YouTube, he also write a fair bit about productivity, tech, effective study techniques, entrepreneurship, personal finance, and more. Read more of his articles on Nextgen Digital and also on Our Productivity, along with Book Notes from some of his favourite books, and a review of some of his favourite tech products and apps. You can sign up for his weekly newsletter here.
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