How I Learned to Laugh in Failure [Insert Maniacal Here]
Failure is Feedback
"Failure will never overtake thee if thy determination to succeed is strong enough" — Og Mandino
Ugh not another blog Post about failure!!
I've come to appreciate the humor of failure and setbacks.
You can read more about my story on a recent post, My Three-headed Demon, but suffice it to say, failure loses it's bite when it keeps happening to you again and again.. "Oh, that's on fire now? Haha okay. Ah, well... where was I.." When you lose your health, or when a big bad wolf comes knocking, everything after becomes minor quibbles and hilarious. The word 'success' has been run into the ground and lost its meaning, but in my mind a successful life begins when you change your perspective about what it means to fail. To those who have made it (whatever it may be for them), failure is feedback — humorous quibbles. palm to face moments. Bumps on your journey to look back fondly on. Decision points in the road, whether to continue, apologize, try again, or give up.
Think of failure not as something you are, rather something that happens to you.
Failure is a force that overwhelms us.
It's something outside of our desires and intentions that wants nothing more than for things to stay the same. Think of failure like a brisk wind — from the wrong perspective, it will steamroll you and knock you down; from the right perspective it's a force that can propel you forward, an updraft that your outspread wings can catch.
Perhaps your intentions were incorrect. You had high hopes for the project but things just didn't work out like you wanted. Or perhaps you were right, yet butting up against circumstances outside of your control. Regardless of the fact, what are you going to do about it now?
Action Step: failure happens. Now what are you going to do about it?
If we (and the world) are malleable, open to change, then failure is the yin to that yang. It's the doubt smiling in your ear, saying 'you can't do this, why even try?'. And when you do try yet fail, there it is again, 'you might as well give up'.
Failure is the enemy, but should not be hated. As painful as it may be, once you see begin to see failure as feedback, it becomes less fatal and more of a pivot point. Your story goes from, 'I'll never make money', to 'What I'm doing isn't working. What can I change / experiment with next?' or 'why do I suck so bad?' to 'everyone sucks in the beginning. I just need to keep pursuing'.
See failure as the enemy of your enemy, and use it to your advantage. 'That sucked big, now what can I do next?' Because the real enemy is complacency.
This is an essential perspective of The Renaissance Life and pursuing creative work. Failure goes hand in hand with creativity. Failure is the artists story. Innovation usually begins with failure. For example, look at this list of successful people who failed first.
Unless my failure equals death, my failure isn't fatal, its an overreaction. I can keep persisting. When we fail and give up, we are giving into a negative outcome. However, there's always a way to flip failure into a positive outcome. The hard part is getting your mind to accept that, and letting go of the upsetting fact that you failed in the first place.
— Josh Waggoner