Some of us know how it feels to be labeled a “loser.” The looks of pity are scathing. The tone of condescension cuts you up. Being treated like a nobody hurts. Others know how society treats failures. So we all fear failure.
We are terrified of failing. This is the reason we work multiple jobs and stretch ourselves too thin, so we look “busy.” We pile up debts to build “assets” and hoard stuff to look “rich.”
But do you know failure is a great teacher? Here’s why you should fail sometimes.
1. Failure makes you re-evaluate and fine tune your game plan.
Although we should evaluate our plans and strategies frequently and keep tabs on our progress, we rarely do so till the plan fails. If you failed despite the hard work you put in, it is likely that you started off with a faulty plan.
If your strategy is not foolproof, you WILL stumble and the sooner, the better. Consider yourself fortunate if you stumble right after taking off. There will be less rework and lesser sunk costs.
Lesson: Failure is a sign that you need to pause and re-think your strategies. Go back to the drawing board, re-evaluate your game plan, identify loopholes, and plug them before moving on.
2. Failure compels you to come up with out-of-the-box ideas.
Success stories are inspiring, but what worked for someone else may not work for you. If you fail while following a tried-and-tested formula, it is time to put on your thinking cap and figure out alternative solutions.
In a world full of choices, you have to be different to stand out. If you have failed, take it as a sign that you have to do business in a different way, offer new products or services to your customers, or market yourself in quirkier ways to get noticed.
Lesson: Failure is a sign that you have to INNOVATE.
3. Failure helps you uncover new opportunities.
Failure forces you to re-think your plans and look for innovative solutions. Because the formula didn’t work, you are forced to dig deeper and explore uncharted territories. So new opportunities open up, or you are now more willing to execute ideas that you had earlier ignored in favor of norms and conventions. And who knows, these opportunities may turn out to be more lucrative than the ones you tried to chase down and failed.
Lesson: Formulae can fail; don’t pass up the new and the unknown.
4. Failure helps you discover your life’s true purpose.
You may have a foolproof plan in place. You can spend a fortune to acquire the best resources you need for the job. You can slog away for months on end on a project. But you will never be successful or content if your heart is not in it.
We are generally unhappy doing what we are not meant to do. The hardest worker in the office may not make it to the top of the corporate ladder because he does not love his job. The smartest guy in college may not get good grades because he hates the lectures. The negative energies we give out block success from entering our lives.
So if you are meant to be someone other than what you are now or do something else, then failure is the sign to become your true Self.
Lesson: Being your authentic Self gives you the best shot at success. Find and follow your soul’s calling.
5. Failure jolts you out of complacency.
Even hard workers fall prey to complacency once in a while. Even the smartest of entrepreneurs become slack at times and neglect to innovate. Even the most efficient of employees sometimes tend to take it easy and not strive for excellence.
But in a competitive world, you cannot afford to take it easy. Your competitors are breathing down your neck, ready to pounce as soon as you give them the room.
Failure might be a sign that you had been a tad complacent and that it is now time to pull up your socks, get your act together, and go full throttle.
Lesson: Never slack.
6. Failure makes you bold and resilient.
Actually, it is not giving up despite failing that makes you bold and resilient.
The winners are not the ones who didn’t fail; they are the ones who fell down, got up, picked up the pieces, and continued pushing forward.
Failure compels you to think out-of-the-box and explore new avenues. When you do this often, you become confident of your abilities and feel unafraid to do what you think would work. You are no longer afraid to look beyond formulae and follow your own dreams.
Once you build the habit of getting up and moving on whenever you fail, you become stronger. You are no longer afraid of failure because you know you can overcome any hurdle that comes your way.
Lesson: Falling down doesn’t matter; what is important is getting up and carrying on.
7. Failure makes you humble and grateful for what you have.
When you fail, you may lose a few clients, not make the profits you had hoped to earn, or not get the job you had dreamed of.
But look around you. You still have your friends and family. You have a roof over your head. Most importantly, you have another chance to reflect on what went wrong, correct your mistakes, and make a dash for your dreams wiser and recharged. Not everybody is blessed with good friends and supportive family members. Not everyone gets the chance to pursue their dreams.
Not everybody gets a second chance.
Consider failure as an opportunity to feel blessed and say thank you to everyone who lights up your life.
Lesson: You have everything you need to be happy.
We meet our teachers in the unlikeliest of places. Failure can be the greatest teacher in your life, but only if you can look beyond and get over the disappointment of failing. Failure can help you grow as a person, become your authentic Self, and fulfill your potential. You just need to be okay with failing.