Reshaping and Seeing Failure in a Different Light

It has been deeply ingrained in our subconscious mind that we need to succeed at all costs and that failing is never an option.

Most people struggle to deal with failure because it is synonymous with not being good enough.

Suppose we grew up believing that we are not good enough, as we continuously wrestle with our weaknesses and the inevitability of failure.

In that case, it cripples us, hindering us from achieving our full potential and becoming the person we are destined to be.

Now the question is, if failure is inevitable, how then should we deal with it?

Let’s begin with not being ashamed of our failures

It is time for us to let go of failure as taboo.

Alison Wood Brooks, a Harvard Business Schools Assistant Professor, said that “It’s more novel and inspiring for others to learn about our mistakes.”

According to Brooks, if one keeps highlighting their achievements, it can appear egotistical and can ignite malicious envy among people around them. To chip away envy, one can acknowledge one’s struggles and inadequacies.

But more importantly, we perpetuate the endless cycle of shame around failure when we play into the collective shame around it. Being authentic rather than hiding our failure, in fact, can build trust with others, and is in fact what helps us build trust in our own ability to grow through failure.

What if our concept of failure is but one of perspective? Not ours, but rather this world’s perspective that there is such a thing as failure.

Therefore, revealing our failures does not tarnish our image. It even inspires others and reshapes their concept about failure; it is part and parcel of your journey as you aim to climb the ladder of success.

How to change our perspective about failure

Let us not allow fear of failure to dictate the course of our life. Let us take a look at these concrete steps that we can take to eliminate the negative perception of failure:

Discover your passion or your zone of genius.

First of all, we must keep an open mind that we cannot be and are not good at everything.

Also, it could be that what we are currently investing our time into is not something we are genuinely passionate about. That is why we feel like we are consistently failing no matter how hard we work at it.

Hence, in our lifetime, we must realize that our passion or “zone of genius” is something that we can still discover as we go through our life’s journey. Once we unveil it, we must align our lives to it and work towards our strengths and values. Only then will we be able to find our natural flow and not give so much effort to swim upstream against the current.

In fact, in these cases, failure can become the blessing that redirects our lives.

Cultivate an open heart and mind.

We must accept the fact that there is no such thing as failure, only redirection.

Things happen for a reason. It might be because where we are heading to is not the “true north.” Maybe the universe tells us that we are set to begin a new path that will lead us to our true destiny.

In short, failure is not what it is. It can be a segue or minor setback that gives us the chance to think and reflect upon the decisions and action steps we are currently taking.

Moreover, we must allow ourselves to learn from the negative experience and not allow it to define our person and being.

Practice living simply.

Unknowingly, we are so passionate about succeeding and not allowing failure to happen because we live our lives based on the dictates of society or our ego.

In our attempts to continuously be successful, we rarely take the time to re-evaluate what’s important about the success we are chasing? Is it a success that will fulfill our soul or one that will make only us look worthy in other people’s eyes?

We have to learn to let go of this mindset if we are going to build a fulfilling life.

When things become so toxic as we climb up the ladder of success, we should always ask ourselves this question,

“Is this the life that I want for myself?”

“Are my achievements truly giving me joy and value?”

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Unlearn concepts about failure.

Along the way, it will be revealed to us that we fear failure not because we want what we want but because we allow our lives to be dictated by our ego and the views of the people around us.

Maybe you think failure is shameful. But in truth, it is not.

Our souls do not compartmentalize our experiences based on failure or success. Our souls use our experiences as signals about our innate gifts and how they can positively impact the world around us.

Our life experiences are torch lights that guide us to uncover what life is about and what it is not.

When we unlearn our old concept of “failure,” it releases us from the clutches of limiting beliefs, giving us a sense of freedom and aliveness. It allows us to live a life that is authentic and fulfilling.

Let us keep failing forward, put our failures in perspective and use it to propel us to meaningful success.

On an emotional and psychological level, failure can be painful. It can take time to accept and reframe. So be patient with yourself as you process it.

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Kawtar El Alaoui

Kawtar El Alaoui, LL.B, PCC is a Multi Award-Winning Consultant, Speaker & Coach. Her work and leadership model provide a roadmap and tools to enable leadership for a more prosperous and peaceful world. Kawtar is the Best-Selling Author of the book Unfolding Peace, 9 Leadership Principles to Create Cultures of Wellbeing, Belonging and Peace.
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