The Failure Paradox.
Everyone fails at some time, failure hurts, it leaves scars physically and emotionally, there are times failure leaves a bitter taste of the harsh realities of real life, yet the paradox is failure can also points us towards success.
This Paradox of Failure is the subject of this article, it looks at how failure can be good or bad (or bad or good) at the same time, and paralogically (that’s the meaning within this paradox) how we can learn use failure to our advantage.
Everyday of my working life, I see people who have failed, they sit opposite me and tell me their woes, their trails, their tribulations and their failures, some of them are scared mentally, some are low and depressed, and some are stuck in failure itself.
There’s no doubt that failure gives us direction, there are times that without failure we wouldn’t have even known we had made a mistake, failure can literally open our eyes to alternatives that would not have been apparent if we hadn’t of failed in the first place.
There are also times when the direction from failure isn’t so absolute as being right or wrong, like the analogy of an aeroplane being off course 90% of the time, sometimes failure is there to correct our course with gentle nudges along the way to push us towards our destination and possibly even success.
Only by doing something outside of our comfort zone do we grow, ask any meat head down the gym and they will tell you the simple fact that their muscles won’t physically grow unless they push themselves to failure and push some weights, and it’s the same with a lot of things in life; failure causes growth.
To grow we must fail, learn, correct and get back up and move on, as a child your first steps happened only after numerous previous attempts had failed, and because growth happens outside our comfort zone this may mean that you also need to be willing to fail in order to learn what you need to know to actually succeed.
The stronger the wind the stronger the wood in the trees, the message here is that adversity brings with it resilience, which is defined as the ability to get back up and keep going in the face of adversity, the take home message here is that failure builds resilience.
Failing then trying again gives builds real grit in your character, getting back up after failure is essential and those that do so should also know that there’s no foundation stronger than those built upon rock bottom.
We have just discussed resilience although be warned Einstein was quoted to have said insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result, so with perseverance we also need flexibility, flexibility helps you avoid making the same mistakes time and again. Most successful businesses evolve few hold true to their original business plan, most entrepreneurs learn from failure, they take these lessons with them and move on towards the next venture, focused goals and flexible methods rather the the reverse are the key to success.
We are more scared about things that we don’t know, sometimes we fail because of the fear of failure, we fail to meet up to expectations, our performance drops off and sometimes people fear failure to the degree that they even fail to get to the starting line. The only way to be released from the fear of failure is to have failed before, then you will be free to push yourself further, to fail and fail again, in business terms to fail early, fail fast and fail cheap.
By getting accustomed to failure you won’t think twice about taking opportunity, to take a risk on yourself, and to know that you can learn from each attempts especially the ones in which you have failed.
Failure gives you a chance to step back, to take a breath to re-evaluate, and to re-focus,
sometimes we are too busy being busy to be productive. Failure gives us a forced hiatus where the doing stops, where there is nothing left but to re-evaluate and take stock, it gives us time to re group and to look for what is next and it is the perfect time to re-evaluate your purpose.
Failure is a paradox, it can be bad and good at the same time, we can learn from it, grow with it, it can build grit and perseverance, we can learn from it and use it to direct us towards something better. Failure can teach us about ourselves far more than success ever could, with failure comes life lessons, although the pain of these lessons are often harsh failure is an honest teacher.
Paradoxically too few realise the hidden value of failure, most people get caught in the failure trap, they get sucked into their failures, they dwell in their bad luck and self pity for far too long, they re-live their failures to the extent that they are defined by them.
Many people fear failure to the extent that they avoid taking action they always take the easier option, they stop pushing themselves to be better, they stop growing and they stop trying.
I see people scarred by failure, some change, some move on, some get stronger, yet most don’t, this is plain truth about the Paradox of Failure, it has a two edged sword it hurts and it cuts deep yet a few of us also learn to wield it to our own advantage.