Is Failure a Choice?
Failure! This seems to be a word that most people run and hide from. The mere mention of this word in a conversation can raise the hairs on the back of the neck and send many a good person into a panic or a barrage of derision. Its a word I once feared and dare not mention. It carried a great deal of emotion and it is a word that I was taught to fear. We don’t fail around here we merely make mistakes. Well aren’t they the same thing? A mistake as defined by etymonline is a ‘wandering from the truth” or “a false judgement or choice”. Sounds the same. So at what point does a failure become a mere mistake? Because if you don’t succeed at some point you have failed to make a sound choice. So how can you turn a “false judgement or choice” from failure into success?
etymonline.com describes failure as “to be lacking or not succeed”. Sounds pretty reasonable. If you set out to achieve something and you don’t well you have not succeeded in your chosen objective, straight forward enough. It also sounds a lot like a mistake. So why when you tell someone that you have failed to achieve something is there this stigma attached? Because what your really saying when you proclaim you’ve failed is that you have wandered from the truth of a given situation and not made a sound choice and the end result is a lack of success. The reason I bring this up is quite personal and something that I have struggled with and struggled to accept for sometime, until now!
It appears to me that we live in a world where success is the key yard stick and where it’s all at. We parade our heroes for all to see and we put them upon pedestals and tell all and sundry that this is what it means to be a successful human. Greatness and a desire to win and be the best no matter what is the goal and it is played out every minute in the media in all its gory detail, no matter what the field. From politics to sport all the way down to the advertising for food or material possessions, its how our society drives itself to be better than the last. We never see the failures and it is never spoken about. We never see the obese people who consumed the food of champions or the unhappy punter who lost it all at the races. The only time we see a failure in the media is the fallen sports star or celebrity who made a poor choice/mistake, purely because it gets ratings and generates sales. What they did is human. What they did was wander from the truth, and make a false judgement or a poor choice. What is so wrong with that? Isn’t it a human condition to fail before you can appreciate success? To be great you need to learn how to handle failure. And to appreciate the flavour of success you need to taste failure.
I’ve lived in this world long enough now to know that to be a success you must have failed at some point. I have yet to meet anyone who was an instant success or who hadn’t failed before they succeeded. Failure is where the true growth and learning come from. If you fail at your given task, you review it. See what didn’t work and try again with the new knowledge gained and make your attempt to succeed again. Or as Chris Ryan one of my favorite pod-caster states “If at first you don’t succeed, redefine success”. Don’t dwell upon the failure, learn from it and redefine what it is your attempting to succeed at. So when I failed massively at my chosen venture, I looked at it not as a failure. I seen it more of an opportunity to learn something that I’d never known or never been able to learn if failure wasn’t an option on the table. From that new knowledge I redefined what success actually meant to me and for me. Failure lost its grip on my emotional state and showed me its valuable lesson. An expensive, draining lesson, albeit a lesson in life nonetheless.
Which then brings me to the world around me and the other humans that inhabit it. Some of them don’t get it. To them you JUST DON’T FAIL! It is viewed as some heinous crime that isn’t spoken about, or we cover it up so the neighbors don’t hear about it. People are great at passing on their point of view of where you went wrong. You didn’t try hard enough. You should put more hours or money into it. You should just keep going and pushing until it succeeds. All great points of view from outsiders and all things that we have all used with varying degrees of success although ultimately the end result can still be the same. It is very easy to stand in judgement of others and have your point of view, it is much harder to stand beside them and with them in the mess that is their failure and to not pass on your judgement or your point of view and to be with them in it. It’s uncomfortable! That’s why it is hard. Where the real growth lies is admitting to yourself that you actually failed, you didn’t cease to be by accepting the result. Your not a lessor person because of it, you are more than before. So by not continuing, irrelevant of what the people around you say you should do you have actually succeeded because only you know what is right for you. And this life is only about you and your choices. Then by picking up the pieces and redefining the measurement of success as it means to you. And proceeding forward with new knowledge and information to create your reality that is constantly in-formation.
So next time someone tells you your a failure. Smile at them and say thank you for their point of view, however I’m learning new skills and am currently in-formation of new ways to succeed in my reality. And carry on being the best version of yourself that you can currently be! And if you can’t smile at that maybe this picture may make your day.