Since we were kids we’ve been conditioned to think that failure meant the world's end. As we should, right? Instinctually, we view failure as a matter of life or death. Fail to run away from the cheetah? You’re done for. However, usually, failure is not something that needs to trigger our fight or flight response (but on the times that it does, try this meditation).
We all want success, we all want to achieve our goals and live extraordinary lives. So, naturally, when we don’t succeed at something, we feel disappointment, sadness, and even anger—all around negative thoughts. What we haven’t been told is that failure actually leads to a number of positive outcomes. Failure is one of life's greatest teachers, let’s dive into this a bit more and tap into our inner Yoda.
WHY IS FAILURE A GOOD THING?
Teaches You About Yourself: Through failure, you will get to know yourself better and you will learn from your mistakes. When we fail at something, it forces us to turn inward and think. It helps us invent new strategies to achieve these goals which makes the personal wins so much better. It helps us build confidence. Imagine if everyone in the world succeeded on the first try…we wouldn’t be unique and if we're being honest life would get quite boring.
Builds Resilience: “Failure is only final if you decide to give up”. Being resilient means that when we do fail, we bounce back. Everyone in the world fails, but there’s only a small percentage of people who will take what they learned and try again. On the Cacti App, we talk a lot about shortening the bounce-back rate. When you feel yourself getting off track, the bounce-back rate is how quickly you are able to get yourself back on the right track. Even the most successful people in the world have bad days, the difference? They’ve trained themselves to get back on their feet more quickly.
Motivates You: People rarely make decisions unless they know the outcome. This leads us to live the same day over and over again (whether we enjoy it or not) – In the movie Groundhog Day? Yeah, a lot of us are living that out. Changing your perspective on failure to something more positive can be one of the greatest motivators of all time. It will challenge you to take risks and put in more time, effort, and dedication.
When we think of failure, it usually comes in the form of someone saying no. No- you didn’t get the job you wanted. No - a dream client didn’t answer your proposal. No - that landlord decided to kick you off the waiting list. There are millions of scenarios where you think you’ve failed but usually, it means something else…
WHAT “FAILURE” CAN ACTUALLY MEAN:
You’re Not Ready (Yet): When we want something so badly, we spend time visualizing our life as if we’ve achieved it, we act as if it’s already happened and hold on so tightly to this vision that we can’t even imagine what it would be like if we didn’t achieve it…but what happens when we don’t get what we want? This situation is the perfect time to look back on what you’ve done and audit it. Ask yourself: “What did this teach me?” and knowing what you know now, “what would I do differently?”
Something Better is Coming: Let’s say you put all your eggs in one basket, that path doesn’t work out, and you're devastated. Now, let’s reframe: how many times have you looked back and said “imagine how different my life would be if I got that job, moved to that city, started my business then, etc.” Don’t forget, we’re only given what we can handle.
It Wasn’t Meant For You: “Every time you make a plan, the universe laughs.” Isn’t that the truth? With social media, the game of comparison has taught us to want everything that we don’t have, keeping us in a constant state of lack. But have you ever thought, for one minute…maybe this isn’t for me? Reconsider, do you actually want to go through the process of it? Or do you just want the reward? Keep that in mind during your next scroll.
3 WAYS YOU CAN CONQUER THE FEAR OF FAILING:
Bet you didn't expect to be reading this title today, huh? Think back to your “greatest success”, you don't actually learn much from those…now think about your “greatest failure” – how many lessons did you learn? Now that we’ve determined“failure” isn’t a negative thing, here are three ways you can practice failing.
Ask For Help: When we were kids we were repeatedly told that there was no such thing as stupid questions…where did this mentality go? We carry around so much pride that we can’t even ask people for help when, in reality, the people who can admit they don't know everything are the people who build the most success (the quickest!)
Say Yes (Even When You’re Scared): Grab a notebook, and write down the absolute worst-case scenario of something happening. If these things don’t involve death or homelessness, then what are you truly scared of? Usually, it’s a fear of what others will think, which is not a regret you want to have when you’re on your deathbed. (We know it’s morbid, but it’s true). Start training your mind to look at all the great scenarios that could happen!
Separate Outcomes From Your Self-Worth: You are so much more than the score you get on a test or the job title you receive. When you see your different outcomes simply as data points for your next attempt it takes the weight off of your shoulders to perform. Not to mention it boosts your creativity and helps you explore new options for reaching goals.
Failure is like a muscle, the more you work it, the stronger this muscle gets. You’ll learn to feel the fear and do it anyway. This is how we become the highest version of ourselves, by getting out of our comfort zones and embracing the fear of failure.
If you’re looking to strengthen your mind-muscle, try out our meditations (updated weekly). You’ll get 7 days free!
How will you embrace failure today? Tag us on Instagram at @cactiapp and let us know!
The Cacti Team