Here’s something you don’t hear every day, right? Which is why you’re probably wondering if I’m for real, or just saying this to get your attention. Actually, it’s a little of both.
You know just as well as I do that failure is nothing to be happy about, especially the minute it happens. Even when it’s something seemingly unimportant like your ice cream falling to the ground, it still doesn’t make you happy. And what about the biggies like losing your job or ending a long-term relationship.
So the first phase of every failure experience is sadness, grief or some other similarly negative emotion. And this is just how our brain works. We can’t stop these initial feelings associated with failure. They will take place no matter what we do or how well prepared we are.
And this is actually where my strategy to being happy with failure has its first step. And please bear with me on this, I didn’t say that this post would provide a magic-pill solution.
This initial moment of emotion is where you have to acknowledge what happened. And you need to do this regardless of the area of your life in which the failure occurred. It doesn’t matter if it’s a relationship, a failed business, sports, or anything else. You have to start by acknowledging what happened.
Now get ready because I have a piece of advice that you certainly don’t hear every day…
After acknowledging the failure, you need to understand that it IS your fault. Yes, it’s not your boss’s or your spouse’s, or anyone else’s. You are the only one to blame. (Personally I don’t buy into the excuses of “it’s not your fault” or “you couldn’t do anything about it.” This attitude will get you nowhere.)
Taking the blame is a good idea because it gives you control. Control of the situation. Control is probably one of your biggest assets. It’s your ability to make things happen (to change things) by your actions. If you don’t believe me simply look at it from the opposite point of view. If you are not to blame, and you had no control over what happened, then it can surely happen to you again because you can’t do anything about it. Does this approach sound remotely attractive to you?
So, since now you know that you’re in control, here’s the next step.
Realize that you’re probably going to go through a myriad of emotions similar to those that occur when you experience a breakup. Essentially, the feelings we experience after a breakup are very similar to what happens with any kind of failure. To some degree we can find ourselves in: shock, denial, isolation, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.
From my experience, the fact that I took the blame, then regained control, enabled me to get through all of the phases much quicker.
The topic of failure in general is a very big niche for many motivational speakers and authors. People make their whole careers out of teaching others how to deal with failure. There are various techniques, tricks, and approaches.
In the end, mine is this and it’s pretty simple:
- recognize the initial feelings
- acknowledge what happened
- take the blame
And now the last and the most important step:
Embrace failure and treat it as an investment.
If you’ve failed despite being in complete control over the situation then now you simply have another lesson on how not to handle your matters. Chalk it up to experience and use it as a reference in similar situations.
Everyone knows that failure is just another step to success, and if you’ve never failed, you’ve never lived.
You are in control, you should use this experience to help you win in the future, you should be happy that this failure has brought you one step closer to success.
About the author: Karol K. is a freelance writer and a blogger. If you want to check out what he’s up to, feel free to hit him up on Twitter.