Failure is a Great Teaching Tool
It is not an option whether or not you will fail in life. I guarantee that you will fail at something. The question is: How will you process that failure? Will you let failure teach you? Or will you respond with self-condemnation?
Failure can be a great teaching tool if you let it, but many people respond to failure as if it is a final declaration. They look at failure as a judgment about themselves. As a result, they respond with self-condemnation.
Henry Ford said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” Failure is not a destination. Failure is not a place to stay. Because failure is just the starting point of the next leg of the journey.
Here are three reasons why you should not respond to failure with self-condemnation.
1. Self-condemnation will keep you stuck in the past
Condemning what you have done wrong may seem like a good idea, but it is counter-productive. Self-condemnation will keep you stuck in the past.
Self-condemnation continues to remind you of what you did, instead of allowing you to learn from it. That’s like putting a bad song on continuous loop. You don’t need to inflict that kind of pain on yourself. So don’t allow failure to keep you stuck somewhere in time when something happened. Just process it and get past it.
2. Self-condemnation doesn’t allow you to see the present clearly
If you allow yourself to beat yourself up over your past mistakes, then you will not give yourself the opportunity for a fresh start. Self-condemnation will prevent you from clearly seeing the present. Failure is not a torture device. As a result, you shouldn’t use it as one.
Failure is a gift. It tells you not to do it that way again. You don’t need to tell yourself you’re bad just because you messed up. Life will being enough troubles on you. You don’t need to make it any harder on yourself. Plenty of people will intentionally or unintentionally try to bring you down. Don’t you be one of them.
3. Self-condemnation won’t let you plan for the future
The purpose of failure is to redirect you in a different direction. It’s not to keep you stuck there. You should use it as the fuel to power you to go to the next level. But self-condemnation will prevent you from moving on.
Orlando Magic Senior Vice President Pat Williams was quoted once as saying: “Defeats are poison to some men. Great men have become mediocre because of the inability to accept and abide by a defeat. If you should achieve any kind of success and develop superior qualities as a man, chances are it will be because of the manner in which you met defeats that will come to you as they come to everyone.”
You cannot expect to achieve success—whatever you define it to be—if you will be defined by self-condemnation. Accept failure, learn from it, and put it behind you. Then make your plans and move forward with the clarity you gained from the experience that only failure can teach you.
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