Using Failure as a Guide

Failure is just a part of life. We shouldn’t be so adverse to it because most of the time it is our best guide to success.

Get up and keep going. It’s ok.

You work hard and do high quality project or job and yet you get nothing but negative feedback or even hear that the whole endeavor is a failure. While you may want to slide quietly under the nearest rock, why not put a more positive spin on the whole process? Yes, this can feel a bit too Pollyanna-esque in the moment, but when the dust settles, you can actual get a lot of good from your failures. (Growth List, 2014)

Let’s start with the tiny failures – you get negative criticism, or harsh positive criticism. Rule of the day is, “Don’t be a jerk,” about it. Try to listen to what is being said to you about the “problem” with what you thought was high quality work, and try really hard to see the trees for the forest. Recognizing flaws or weaknesses in your work or methodology is something you can use immediately to improve your chances at greater successes. Its not personal, its you’re job.

He whispers to us in our joy, speaks in our contentment and yells in our pain. Pain is God’s megaphone to a deaf and dying world. -C.S. Lewis (paraphrased)

Next, try not to get emotional about it. While few of us will throw ourselves down and sob, most of us will feel at least a twinge of hurt by failure of any kind. The key here is to endure – endure in the moment, in the next moment, and in the hours and days afterward. Small or gigantic, failures can make it hard to think clearly about anything else, so turn the focus towards reducing the sense of hurt and emphasizing endurance beyond the moment.

From this, you’ll be able to learn just how tough you are and this will only empower your every step and dedication afterward. This leads to the next step for learning from any failures, and that is to just press into it. Yes, it is tough, but all good things are tough. There are a million quotes about life, work, or dedication never being easy things. We have to just get used to this idea and press into it. Whether it is on your own or in collaboration, you have to keep striving forward.

Now, this next part of the process is a tough one, but it is going to give you the largest amount of information. You must be honest with yourself and ask why you failed. You may not have anyone but yourself to ask, but if you do have someone who can let you know what they see as the failure, then ask them.

Your goal here is to gain something from the failure, keep that in mind and it may dull the stab of pain or pride at the moment. It will certainly help you to take in the information and learn what you need to learn.

In the end, most people learn that they may have set expectations for themselves far too high, and that it is helpful to sometimes divorce ourselves from our work. We are willing to assess our failures because we want to do our best. So, what you gain from this process of learning from failure does enable you to do your honest best and succeed next time around.

Better to be trying and failing that to have never tried at all. Heck making videos, films anything for that matter is a constant effort of trial and error. The goal is to minimize those errors and be able to see where failure could come before its upon you.

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