Failure is not fun. It sucks. Especially the epic kind when everything falls apart. But massive failures, such as hitting rock bottom, contain a hidden gem. There is no way but up from there.
You likely know the taste of failure. That’s how we learned to speak and walk. This is how changes come about. A wise family member once told me, when we make conscious changes, they are always for the better.
Looking back, my biggest failures so far have come from doubting my intuition. When we don’t listen to what our bodies tell us, we dig a deeper hole to ourselves. Getting in tune with our inner compass is by far, in my personal opinion, the greatest gift of failure. Have you ever regretted not listening to your gut? I daresay not.
Failure is our greatest teacher, polishing the rough diamond that we are into a brilliant jewel. It teaches us compassion, understanding, empathy, and kindness. It teaches us to listen and discern better. It teaches us to get in tune with our truth.
Unfortunately, most of us avoid failure at all cost because it stinks. It hurts. Furthermore, our culture glorifies success. Which misses the point and is indeed sad. What a healthy society should do, is to highlight the journey with its epic trials and tribulations. That is because once we reach the peak, the thrill doesn’t last long. But the lessons remain with us forever. The lessons shape our character, and that is something that endures and builds.
“I think it’s fair to say that I have failed more than most people. And I’m super proud of that. Part of the rules of this game is, the person who fails the most wins.” — Seth Godin
Failure, therefore, is necessary if we want to grow. It is a stepping stone that will lead us to great things. Here are just three things you will gain (there is much more, of course) when you allow yourself to fail.
1. Realization. Now you know what doesn’t work so you can try a different route. Depending on the degree of your failure, you also may know that things can’t get any worse, so there is nowhere else to go but onwards and upwards. The knowledge you gain as a result of failure is deep. It likely permeates more than one area of your life. It puts things in perspective. While you are in it, it may not feel good. But take heart, being able to keep a hold of yourself even when things are falling apart, teaches you resilience and makes you strong. Another score on your progress board!
2. Renewal. Failure is a good reason to reinvent yourself. Stop and recalibrate. Reexamine your life. Get to know yourself better. When the old crumbles, something new can sprout in its stead. The people trailing their path on a safe route, have to work super hard on clearing their mind in order to achieve a state of spaciousness where a new idea can blossom. In the aftermath of failure, the space is a given. It’s like entering a house post hurricane. You are forced to clean up start over. It’s a blessing in disguise.
3. Responsibility. Change is only possible when we accept 100% responsibility for our life and actions. Sure, there are influences beyond our control. But if we keep blaming the weather, the planets or other people for our predicament, we will never get unstuck. As hard as it seems, responsibility is the most liberating state. That’s why they say that responsibility equals freedom. It means taking your power back. When we own up to our mistakes, which are a part of life, we give ourselves the permission to take the next step.
“The greatest artists like Dylan, Picasso and Newton risked failure. And if we want to be great, we’ve got to risk it too.” — Steve Jobs
It’s okay to fail. Countless number of successful people have had a close encounter with failure. Failure serves us more than hinders us. We always come out better, wiser and stronger on the other side. We come out richer in self-knowledge. We intuit better and trust ourselves more. The key is to not give up but keep going, reaching new heights and believing in yourself.
When you internalize this truth, failure will not taste bitter next time. In fact, you will rejoice that valuable lessons are afoot.
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