The dreaded ‘F’ word.
We’ve all experienced it at some point in life or other and at different levels, ranging from minor to epic. But through them all, and there have been plenty of them, I’ve discovered a few things that have changed my viewpoint on failure.
Here are 6 that have made a huge difference which I had to learn the hard way.
1. I don’t have to be perfect.
I don’t know why but for some reason I saw the world as being ‘perfect’ as a kid growing up, which translated into me believing I had to be perfect. Our expectations can get warped and cause mental anguish if we aren’t fully aware of what we’re looking to achieve.
Perfection isn’t something to aimed for.
Being surrounded by others who were either far more academically gifted or talented on the sports field, often meant ‘trying’ too hard to achieve and get better results than others. I’m not saying competition is wrong but trying to be perfect at everything merely causes misery instead of working towards being the best you can be.
Being good at something that is worthwhile and adds value and doing it to the best of your ability is a far greater reward than one being driven by your ego or someone else’s ideal.
2. I can’t give real input if I haven’t experienced it.
Whilst it may be painful going through some of the failures and mistakes in life, we cannot hope to offer someone else any real insights, guidance or hope for improvements if we haven’t experienced them ourselves. Simply telling someone to pull themselves together, man up or you’ll be fine, may sound good at the time but in truth, they are just shallow words.
Understanding others pain and empathising with them means you can connect at a much deeper level. Something we all strive for but few succeed in doing.
3. The world doesn’t come to an end because I failed
We often imagine things being ten times worse than they really are or will be if we fail to accomplish this or that. I’ve looked at things when they’ve gone gone ‘wrong’ expecting the worst but in reality, the sun still comes up the next morning, the trees are there and the birds are still singing in them.
Asking yourself what did I learn? is a far better way to look it.
4. Embrace failure.
I remember seeing big red x’s in the margin of school books which indicated all the things we had got wrong. Now I’m not saying we get rid of them because that would be wrong. However, the focus was not on what we had done correctly and “How can you improve things” but more of a “You’re a failure…. Look at how bad you’ve done” mentality.
We were taught to fear mistakes and construe them as failures, rather than developing what Carol Dweck, the author and psychologist calls a growth mindset.
I was always striving to ‘succeed’ I forgot to appreciate everything along the way. Always searching for the next thing rather than to seriously sit back and take stock of the bigger picture and how it was affecting my results.
I didn’t appreciate :
What I had. More than many but not in terms of ‘stuff’.
Who I had around me. An amazing family who loved me dearly.
Where I lived.
The choices I could make.
The simple things in life that make all the difference.
When I Started to appreciate everyday things every day, everyday things started to seem better, every day.
6. The problem isn’t the problem.
We all face obstacles and challenges but it’s rarely the problem that’s the problem. It’s the way we look at the problem, our perception of the problem that makes the difference.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Making mountains out of molehills”. Looking at things as simply challenges rather than insurmountable mountains or obstacles will go a long way to how you go about getting over them.
We may not always get the desired result but if we change our thinking and the meaning we give to it, we can change our results.
Working on improving one of these six works wonders but if you work on all of them, in time you’ll be amazed at how it can help you improve your mindset and mental strength.