You may associate defeat with negative outcomes. It is usually believed that failure is equated to wrongness, badness, the not-supposed-to’s in life, and even death. It is considered “lucky” to be able to evade failure – as if you have thwarted some emotional plague that will brand you with the shameful label of being a loser or mediocre in life.
But is avoiding failure really somehow superior to failing?
In her pivotal book, “The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are,” Brene Brown spells out the ills of those who live their entire life in the chase for perfection. She writes about the agony, fear and the misery that people feel every day in the pursuit of something beyond their potentials. Brene inspires readers with her own journey of finding love and vulnerability amidst the painful standards of imperfection set up by society.
Oh wait…she is talking about us.
If we open to our own courage enough to face the tide of failure, it will unveil pearls of wisdom, strength, and information that might otherwise be veiled. What if adversity shaped us, evolved us into more conscious human beings?
What might one gain from failure, you ask? Here are a few things:
Failure invites us to see parts of ourselves that are less-than-perfect…parts that might live hidden to the world but we secretly know are there. If you let it, these less-than-perfect parts offer a chance to develop self-empathy which can be extended to others in our world.
While perched high on your own perfection, it becomes easy to criticize and judge the lives or choices of others. Failure leverages our own compassion which can be extended out into your world and open you to feeling more connected to yourself and to others.
“Failures are the fingerposts on the road to achievement” – S.W. Lewis
Humility is often born of failure. Humility is a proposition for connecting more deeply with yourself and with those in your life. Through humility, you become supple and nimble to the world around you which encourages deep and profound relationships.
“Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out.” – Benjamin Franklin
Most of what you know is through experiencing life on life’s terms. Some of your most profound lessons have likely come through tremendous grief, loss, and suffering. Failure is a fertile ground from wisdom to sprout…not knowledge from a book but rather wisdom deeply rooted in personal experience. Wisdom creates the compass from which we can navigate our lives and our relationships.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” –Winston Churchill
Every time you face an unforeseen challenge, you problem-solve, devise, implement, and struggle to develop a new plan for success. This jockeying in the face of failure grows courage within you in order that you might continue to evolve and meet the challenges of the next day. Like the old adages says, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.”
“Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit” – Napoleon Hill
Most often, people try to dodge failure. We are kind of hard-wired that way. Who wants to weather the embarrassment of failure — in public, on the job, in a relationship, or even in the privacy of one’s own home?
Although living a secure, predictable, caged life of safety provides a great sense of control and security, it may also afford few opportunities to stretch your own limits. What might live on the outskirts of your own comfort zone? What kind of skills, strengths, proclivities might lie beyond the reach of your own known self?
Failure might pull you to your knees in agony and it can provide you with the very medicine you need to rise up and engage more deeply and fully in your life.