If we did not believe or think that we could do better, failure would have no sting to it. It is often because we’ve fallen short of our true potential that we are negatively impacted by setbacks. While it can’t be helped that this is a part of life, we can work our way around it. The idea of failure must first be cast aside. It need only become real if we let it become a permanent state. Once it’s been defeated we gain greater power over internal and external circumstances.
You are not alone in feeling like a victim when you’ve fallen short of your ideals. Feel fortunate that you have such faith in yourself that failure still hurts. There are many who no longer see themselves achieving anything. To those failure has no sting they have grown immune in the least desirable way, by no longer aspiring to anything beyond their current state. When you put that into perspective, you will be grateful that failure is still a risk in some way. For that means you are still striving for greater heights.
One reason we often fail is because of an omission at the onset of a project. We either did not consider its immensity or failed to undertake the right measures (mental and physical) necessary to the success of our endeavours. We fail because we strive to control externalities which may be out of our control rather than work on those that we can control. If we are to be successful it is as much important to feel internally so, first. That can’t be done if we let external events constantly tamper with our inner worth, so we must develop a strong inner self. Every day, do the best you can, learn from your mistakes and do better next time. That’s all you can do (besides quit). We also fail because we do not do things in an assured way. We doubt ourselves during our work. We doubt ourselves after our work. While we somehow hope that all that built up doubt won’t affect our activities negatively. It does. At a subconscious level we are thwarting our own plans.
We must cease to feel like our worth as individuals is linked to external trinkets: money, titles, the love of a crowd. None of those are what you are worth. It may seem very “new age” to say this, as some like to mock this view comparing it to being given a participation star. Yet there is a truth to the fact that you are intrinsically worth being respected, loved and appreciated even if you were born crippled, dumb and mentally disabled. Not everyone sees the world like this. I myself have faced this in my journey. Not having made a financial impact in the first decade of my writing. I began to notice that I no longer had my father’s admiration. He may not have been aware of it but it made me feel small at first, it took some time for me to realise that my worth was not linked to the success of my books nor how others saw me. I knew that eventually they’d sell, and if they didn’t I’d still write. I could do other things in the meantime and I’d improve while I worked on my dreams.
Before the belief in our dreams comes or the confidence, we must prepare for all the necessities. Is there some further education that you know would make a great difference in your potential for success. Would you need money to get it? Do you have that money? Is there someone who could sponsor you? Family or a good friend who could lend it to you, or an organisation? If not is there a cheaper alternative that could give you similar knowledge upon which you could improve. We must have an idea of the many paths that are open before us. Thus we will be able to factor them in, in our plans. Perhaps, one road ends up a dead end, but you would have made your own path to find a new avenue. Indeed, the chief ingredient of failure, the very seed is a lack of information. Once we sort that out, being able to plan and prepare gets a lot easier and has greater results.
Having accepted your past and made peace with it. You must create a new vision to work towards, you will realise that you are no longer a failure. You simply never were. Failure being an ephemeral state, it is as good as an illusion. The minute you go back to working on your projects the narrative instantly changes. There is but one great difference between a failure and a success. It is underlined in the definition of success I believe is the most relevant, “success is the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal”. As Earnest Nightingale said in The Strangest Secret, as long as you are working towards your goals, no matter what story circumstances may be telling, you are irrefutably a success. In that very moment, while the outside world may not yet reflect this fact, you are a success. Given time your work will be rewarded. It may not be in terms of money, especially in cases where your work is charitable rather than profit-oriented.
You are freed by this new perception. Believe yourself to be a success from the instant you begin working on your goals, no matter which stage of the process you are on. It may take some time but eventually you will begin feeling like it. As you finalise your daily work, seeing how much ahead you’ve gotten by immersing yourself in the process and not the obstacles and setbacks. You will see that you feel in yourself a certain pride and joy. The kind only pros in your field usually experience. For the moment you cease to define yourself by a single project’s success or failure and rise the next morning to keep working, in that very moment you become a success and a professional.
To become resilient to failure, you must strive for constant advancement. Even during breaks your mind should be working out a way to bypass the current roadblock. On the road to success failure is a treacherous thief of belief and faith. It lurks, ambushing those who dare to walk this path. By now, you know the risk you took in being brave, in daring to succeed. So learn to deal with it, be prepared for a crash, just never let the crash be final. The more often you defeat this beast, the stronger your internal powers will become. Your intellect will be well versed in the causes of failure in your industry; your intuition will guide you through them. You will eventually fail less and less and stop failing at the same things. You will become wise and resilient in the process and never be a failure again, if you never stop attempting and working towards your dreams. Those that never tried and those that stopped are the only ones who’ve truly failed, for they remain at the shore watching the ships of their peers setting sail.
This article is an excerpt from The Success Roadmap, you can get your copy here. Let me know what you thought in the comments.