Failure. It’s part of life and we all go through it.
Maybe it’s a sports game or a business deal. The prize that you didn’t get at school when you know you were the best but it went to another kid who was just so smug about it. You did your best but you didn’t make the team or get that job. You didn’t pass the exam even though you were up until 2am studying.
We have feelings of dejection, despair and damages our self esteem to the point where we give up trying. That then could become a strategy in life, one that becomes a character trait where walking away or not giving a crap is the response to every challenge, in case of failure.
That road leads to mediocrity and acceptance of whatever happens to you, making you feel bad about yourself, possibly putting you on a path to mental illness. Nobody wants that.
No-one talks about failure as they want to forget it and therefore it never gets dealt with. People generally don’t get help to deal with their feelings from falling short, to learn what to do about it and use it positively.
When young, I was so intent on taking on the world, it was ready for me and I’d be welcomed with open arms as the new messiah. Didn’t quite work out that way and although I had ambitions, I didn’t have the experience or advice to help me on the right path. Maybe I wasn’t listening, which is a distinct possibility too.
The bald fact is when I look at what I’ve achieved, I think it’s not good. I won’t list what I’ve done but it has been a lot of different experiences and I’ve ended up in a place where I have a great family, great friends and a comfortable life. Yet, the self worth is not high which comes down to high expectations and not dealing with the failure on the way, against the criteria I set for myself.
We hear stories of successful people with strings of failures before success came to them. Businesses closed, jobs were lost, defeats all round. Then, back they come as they keep learning, trying different things from the experience life has given and it works. An open, determined mind, not judging but learning from every experience.
When you miss your goal, don’t berate yourself. Take a deep breath, go for a walk and think about it objectively, away from negative feelings. Let them process but watch them pass without judging yourself or them.
Calmly and objectively work out what you did well, what you would keep in the future and give yourself praise for doing that. Then work out what didn’t go so well for you, what you need to adapt, amend and improve upon that will develop your performance. Do not judge or beat yourself up as you must face each point objectively, maybe discussing with a coach or teacher to help you understand better.
Failure is never the issue. It’s how you deal with it, learning and developing, putting the changes into practice. If you have done your best at the time and come up short, give yourself praise for that as you could give no more. Learn and develop from the experience and your best will get better.
Teach your kids this and it may well stop them from a lifetime of stress and pressure which leads to problems later on. That’s got to be worth a shot for their sake, right?