Failure: a Treasure to Achieve Your Goals

Thomas Edison failed a thousand times before he could light the first bulb. Yet there are many who give up when they don’t succeed the very first time. For baseball hitters, the statistics show that they fail 2 out of every 3 attempts. Yet we won’t ever try out anything if we are not certain of success. The real issue is how we take our failure and its results. In this article my basic motive is to transform how you think about failure, thus enabling you to change the image about yourself.

Failure can accelerate your success if you utilize it in the right way. It all depends on how you take it. Below are 5 ways you should think about failure. Adopting and practicing these will help you to achieve any goal irrespective of the area – personal as well as professional.

1. Take failure as a lesson – When a baby is learning to walk and in the process falls down, we say it is good to fall since it will make him walk better. Yet as we grow we fail to apply this principle to our lives. Whether we fail in our targets, lose job, we get depressed at our failure. Worse we consider ourselves nothing but a failure. It is advisable to take failure as a step to success. It is similar to a baby falling while learning to walk. Hence take every failure in the same way. It is an indication that you are on the right track but are faltering somewhere. Failure is an opportunity for you to understand where you have failed. By understanding this you can know many doors that still remain to be opened by you. So instead of getting disappointed, examine where you went wrong and improve upon those points. A baby always gets up after falling down and so should you. Let not failure stop you anywhere, get up , learn and perform better.

2. Be realistic with your expectations: Many a times when you are attempting something new, you ted to get impractical. We think that everyone will readily accept once you put forth your idea. We expect that the new car we have launched this year will do as good as the previous car. We think all our customers will go crazy over buying our latest products. But this is a very rare occurrence. John kotter tells the leaders the communication is not good when it comes to changing something. There is a high chance that a new product has some errors due to which the customers hesitate to adopt it. Failure can be well managed if you manage expectation of all those involved right from the beginning. Aim for perfection but be realistic too while you are passing through the journey. Tell your customers about your aim, but at the same time anticipate the problems and inform all that you are ready to tackle every such issue. This way you gain the trust from customers in case an error or a malfunction should happen. And problems won’t be the one that will tarnish your image or reputation, rather how you handle them will decide if you are to achieve success in your endeavor or not. Failures are the landmarks which will tell you that you are on the right track.

3. Being perfect is not always an option: Bob Rotella, a sport psychologist has written a book Golf is not a Game of Perfect. I believe no area whether professional or personal is for the perfect. Trying to achieve perection will keep us away from trying anything new and adopting newer methods to achieve our goals. If you do not take new steps you will never be able to achieve them. In our obsession for perfection we will lock away the talent hidden in us. So the better option is that instead of perfection, take bold and practical decisions. You can be perfect but not in the very first attempt. You will achieve it over a period of time. So let go of being perfect and you will see a marked improvement in the results when you attempt anything.

4. Handle fear before it handles you – Fear is the single largest factor that holds us back to try anything new. Fear is a natural mechanism in every individual. It is a means to protect our physical existence. But very often we fear even though our physical survival is no longer under thereat. Not getting a promotion wont endanger your life nor will it be under any kind of danger if your idea gets rejected at a business meet. Worse! Its not end of life if you are fired! In all these and similar events you will be gripped by fear, but you need not surrender to it. Keep your cool and move ahead. Don’t let your nervous system break down. Learn to handle your fear, otherwise you are sure to be a puppet in the hands of fear.

5. Live in the present – you should think about future. This is a great activity to stimulate your creative treasure. All the what if scenarios that you can imagine are very good. Questions like “What if I double the market share in the next quarter?” or “What if I systematically invest time and money in improving the life of people who are less fortunate than me?” are good, but these are not the questions that are come up in our mind. We always imagine the negative what if questions like “What if I say something stupid at the meeting?”. We put so much energy and time thinking about these negative aspects that our whole personality too becomes negative. You will always become anxious when occupied with these kind of thoughts. So you can stop such thoughts when you realize that you are becoming tensed and anxious. Bring yourself to the present, don’t build up negative hypothetical situations. The things that are happening at the present are not as bad as you have imagined the what if scenario to be. Live and deal with what you have at present in your hand, instead of wasting away time and energy into imagining something negative.

If fear or failure is the one factor that is holding you from achieving your goals, you have to challenge yourself. Rethink on how you take and handle failure till now. Failure is many a times the step that will unravel to you a great treasure. It is the only way you will succeed. To summarize, I think, Henry Ford put it in the best possible way: “Failure is nothing but an opportunity to begin anew, but this new attempt will be more intelligent”

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