Befriending Failure: the beauty of failing

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Befriending Failure: the beauty of failing

Befriending Failure: the beauty of failing
June 29
15:01 2015

Failure scares and repulses people. Even the notion of failing can cause palpitations and severe anxiety. Some people make a concerted effort to avoid even the appearance of failure. Some individuals are petrified of failure because they associate failing with humiliation and personal weaknesses. Fear of failure propels people to repress their own instincts and dreams. The thought of taking risks is terrifying because many people are not prepared to even risk the chance of failure. There are people who nourish dreams in their hearts, but never take steps to achieve their aspirations because they fear failure even more than death. Thus, some people go through life trying to avoid pitfalls and go out of their way to present a façade of success and contentment. Failure is not perceived as a natural progression to success. Yet some of the most notable, influential and successful people in history have failed. Failure did not negate their determination, but rather became the catalyst to their eventual success.

If you attempt an initiative or do something that requires a lot of tenacity and you encounter failure and disappointments – it does not devalue your abilities and talents. If your marriage, friendship or career has ended – it does not mean you will never succeed. Your self-esteem has been rattled but it will recover. Your confidence will come back. Accepting the loss is the first step. Befriending failure can lead to success and self-awareness. Failure teaches and educates; it provides insight into dealing with pressure and obstacles. There is no doubt that failure can exacerbate pain, uncertainty and stress. However, it also re-energies the soul and provides much needed clarity.

When you fail – you feel profoundly. After you experience a myriad of emotions and have let the sense of closure permeate your heart – you become refreshed and have an opportunity to learn from your encounter with failure. The celebrated educationist, John Dewey, emphasised the importance of learning from experience. He argues in Education and Experience that productive learning occurs through experience: “Every experience is a moving force. Its value can be judged only on the ground of what it moves toward and into.” Dewey makes a salient point that experiences have the ability to shape future endeavours and objectives. I would also suggest that failure is experience. If you never fail you are not experiencing life. Thus, without failure you can never truly grow and learn from mistakes and challenges. People who seldom fail – have limited experiences. They may be resting in the security of a safety nest, but lack inner peace and satisfaction.

Failure is not for the faint-hearted. When you fail it can hurt – more than you could have envisaged. Failure can result in financial insecurity, career set-backs and embarrassment. However, sometimes the most conducive benefits are derived from obstacles and miscalculations. Failure is character building. It makes you realise what matters in life and empowers an individual to re-evaluate his or her life and goals. Moreover, failure can bring about two qualities needed for success: patience and resilience. Without patience and resilience it is difficult to look at failure in a positive light. If you sail through life without any significant challenges – you are cheating yourself.

Life is not meant to be consistent and uneventful. Instead of embracing the status-quo look at failure from a more optimistic perspective. If you fear failure because you seek others approval or praise – you will never venture to try something that could elevate your happiness. It is a disease to give your power to other people. Does it really matter what other people think of your failure or success? Remember your failure could be another person’s idea of success. The thirst for admiration from other people hinders many from truly following their dreams. Embrace failure and realise your tears will shape your future success.

By Mussarrat Shaheen
© 2015

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  1. Haleema
    Haleema June 29, 21:41

    This is a such a beautifully written article. So profound. Everyone successful has failed at some point. Michael Jordan, J.K Rowling (her book rejected by over 8 publishers), Thomas Edison and so many more. They failed but did not give up on their dreams. They were resilient and eventually found success. Success is not failing. Its the refusal to stand up after a set back.
    Thank you for such a genuine article.
    Not sure if you have heard of Brene Brown but her talk on vulnerability is really insightful. You can find it on TED talks.
    Looking forward to further articles!

    Reply to this comment
  2. Madge
    Madge June 30, 23:47

    Very insightful and well written.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Humaira
    Humaira July 04, 20:07

    A very insightful article to accept failure not as a setback but as a step to success.

    Reply to this comment

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