Misconceptions About Failure

Posted by Kamaljeet Saini

We all fail at some point in our life or the other. The concept of failure is very relative and depends only on the greatness of the task undertaken and your preparation for the same. Here we will try to see the truth behind some common misconceptions about failure so that we can put our failures in the right perspective.

Some of us become so attached to winning that we start feeling it as our birthright to succeed every time we undertake any activity. And when we do fail, we start complaining, blaming others, blaming our luck and become resentful. We become negative and start forming negative beliefs / perceptions about ourselves and others. We do not realize at that point of time that we are setting up ourselves in a trap, a mental pattern that will lead us more into a failure mode and make it difficult for us to move back to success.

It seems Thomas Alva Edison had failed 1000 times before he ever discovered how to create an electric bulb. When asked by someone about how he felt failing so many times, he quitely replied, “I haven’t failed, I have found 1000 ways that don’t work”. Now that is a winning attitude!! It needs to be noted here that had he not had the patience to go through so many failures before hitting success, we might have still been living in darkness.

So what is the truth behind failures, why do we fail? Is it a bad thing to fail or is there a deeper meaning to our failures? Let us try to understand some of the truths behind our failures here:

1. Every failure is simply a feedback that something is not right and needs correction. For example, many people view the current economic downturn as a setback because so many people have lost their jobs. But I think this is an excellent opportunity for these people to figure out their core potential, their natural gifts and talents and start re-building their business / careers around those strengths. If this happens, the same failure would turn into a beautiful gift in the coming days and years because when you work in alignment with your passions and strengths, success has to follow. Also, this is an excellent time to learn and grow yourself so that you can think more clearly and creatively, thereby being able to achieve greater success in the coming days

2. Failures are usually the stepping stones to success. The greater the failure, the greater is the success, provided you are willing to learn from your mistakes, be positive and keep moving. It seems Abraham Lincoln had failed at almost all big undertakings he ever undertook in his life time…until he succeeded to become the President of America.

3. Every major failure comes with the seed of an equal or greater opportunity. For example, lets say you face a unique challenge in your life that is almost catastrophic in nature. Now, instead of feeling self pity and dis-content, what if you could accept “what is”, keep yourself positive and focus all your energies in finding a solution to the challenge, then once you have a solution to the problem, you can turn it into a major success by somehow taking it to the world and helping people with similar challenges in their lives. There are many instances where people had major setbacks in their lives that were devastating, but they did not quit, kept trying and one day left their mark on the planet, thanks to their failures and setbacks.

4. Many a times, failures are simply there to provide you an inspiration and connect you with your purpose in life. Mahatma Gandhi is an excellent example of this truth. He was thrown out of a train compartment simply due to his color (although he was highly educated and well qualified). This inspired him to grow himself to such level that he was able to free a large nation from the chains of slavery.

Bottom line, there are no failures in life, only feedbacks that something is missing, incorrect and needs some adjustment. Everything is there for a reason. We may not be able to see the good in something when bad happens to us, but when you look back at the events in your life and reflect on them, everything starts making sense. So next time you hit a so-called failure, do not beat yourself up over it…be calm, try to seek the learning and feedback from the failure and move on. You do not fail till you quit!!

Having said that, I will leave you with an inspirational video on failure and not giving up. Hope you like it 🙂


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