Sometimes I wish the word “Failure” didn’t exist because it has such a permanence to it. I don’t really believe in failure. I believe that giving up is real. But to give up is something we have total agency over. Failure is something that, when we talk about it, we talk about the world assigning it to us. We talk about how others perceive us. It’s all about outside expectations and perspective. I don’t like that because, success is something that’s determined from within. Only I can really know if I’m successful because my success should be determined by how I’ve personally improved since yesterday. Or since last year. If we frame success and failure as something that outsiders determine, it’s a mess. We’ll almost always be failures, as there will always be others who, by comparison, are doing so much better. Success must be determined from the inside and, for that reason, so, too, should failure. Which brings me back to why the idea of “failure” needs to be re-thought. Many of the incidents we see as failure are not failures but something else – something positive, even. When you reframe failure as part of your success story, then there is no failure. Here are positive ways to look at failure.
At least it was now, when nobody saw
Many of the events we see as “failure” happen early on, when we’re just learning how to do something, and just getting our legs. It happens when you perform for the first few times and bomb or submit a short story and get rejected. The nice thing – the saving grace – is that these “failures” tend to happen when nobody yet really has eyes on us. So we get the benefit of learning a lesson, without having the whole world watch us struggle. Be grateful to “fail” singing at an open mic for 10 people in a coffee shop. Do it 100 times, so you do well when you’re finally in front of 10,000 people.