It took me a long while to understand how to do so. Everybody fails. No one is perfect.
You are never too old to ‘Not Fail’
Age is just a number. Nobody can guarantee wisdom at a certain age. And even if you are the wisest person on earth, who said that you can not fail? It is an essential part of learning, in fact, an essential part of any process.
At age 10, I would think I am the eldest sibling, I am supposed to be a perfect role model, I should not make mistakes. Aged 15, I’d think the same -look how old I am, people around me are so clever, how come do I still make a fool of myself. When will I be ‘just perfect’. The same story continued over the years until I looked back and realized how far I have come. Yes, I made mistakes, I was naive, I embarrassed myself over and over again at so many instances in life. But, hey, look at me now -look at how I managed to get back up after all those falls. And if I fall again, I will try be easy on myself and fall more gracefully. There is no need to take the burden, of this world’s expectations of me, on my shoulders.
It is very embarrassing to do so right? After all those years of learning and experience, how can I fail. My parents look up to me, my siblings look up to me, my team looks up to me, my spouse , my children, and the list of expectant eyescarries on. What will they think of me if I own up to my mistake? Will I be any less reliable, less considered for the upcoming promotion? All this is very daunting.
But, the next time you fail, take a deep breath and try admit to yourself that you have made a mistake -that you have failed. There could be a thousand factors and circumstances that contributed to your failure, but all you need to do is take responsibility. A simple ‘I miscalculated the budget‘ or a simple ‘I missed the deadline‘ is enough as a statement to take ownership. As soon as you say to your colleagues/manager ‘I miscalculated the budget because I was overworked, misguided etc’, you have made an excuse. It certainly is very important to reflect upon the factors which contributed towards your failure (let’s talk about it in detail in another post), but taking ownership is the foremost action that leads to a ‘better fall’.
You haven’t really failed
Oh yes, I have. I have certainly failed. I have let down thousands of people in my life who matter to me. But, let me remind you of a fundamental truth –you haven’t really failed, you have just discovered ways which do not work. Sounds familiar? Cliche’d? Think again.
Of all those times you failed over and over and over again, were you making the same mistake all that while? If so, then you did not really learn from your experience. Learning from your past is the way forward. But, if you have made this far in life, means you did learn a few lessons and made changes along the way in your attitude and decision-making. And that, is all you require to increase your chances of success in the future. Sounds good? Keep reading.
It is alright to be sad and pessimistic, but only for a short while. What is a ‘short-while’ you ask. Well, it is obvious you had higher expectations of yourself and now that you have failed, you will be upset and beat yourself about it. There is no solution as such in sight and the world around is crumbling down, of course, there will be hopelessness and misery. But, let that be only for the short term. Embrace the sadness and loss, but be a long-term optimist. Yes things look gloomy for the while, but you have a goal in mind. You have discovered what does not work. This means there is something which would work. All you need to do is focus and try again -chances are you will make a more ‘informed decision’ this time around. Be a short-term pessimist, but a long-term optimist.
Wear your failure as a ‘Badge of Honour’
Failure tends to leave us broken and skeptical about ourselves and our decisions. Let not failure take you down that path. Be proud of the actions you took -the decisions you made in the face of dire situations, the changes you made, the truth you uncovered and the shackles you manged to rattle (if not break). How else will you know and discover, if you do not move forth courageously despite the risk of losing all you have. What is the point of doing anything at all, if you have not given your best to it. And while you give it your all, you risk an epic failure, or give chance to an epic success. Wear your failures as a ‘Badge of Honour’ – it just shows you tried while thousands around you chose to be lazy or ignorant. Let is be so that when you look back at your life, you are amazed by what you managed to do, the risks you took. It is always better to have stories to tell, than have nothing daring on your plate to share when you grow old.
Not the foolish who makes the same mistakes forever, but the foolish who fails frequently and differently each time around. It is difficult to regain composure after an epic fall, but if you fail gracefully and understand that this failure is just a part of the process, you will manage to get back up and smile back at the world as a better, more informed and a stronger person.
If you have anything related to share, I would love to hear back from you. Stay strong!