Have you experienced a failure? Welcome to the club. Every person on the planet fails at some point in life. The important question is, how will you respond to that failure?
For many people, failure is synonymous with defeat. Their failure knocks them down and they refuse to get up. But there is a better way. You can make the most of your failure and move on toward success. To do so, you must adhere to these three basic steps and then, do not give up and start again.
1. Recognize that you have failed.
When a person refuses to acknowledge or admit their failure, the failure becomes compounded. By ignoring it or denying it, they condemn themselves to repeat it. If they will not recognize their failure, they will not make the necessary adjustments to avoid similar failures in the future.
Admitting failure is the first step in overcoming it. That is why in Alcoholics Anonymous, every person is required to admit that they have an addiction to alcohol. They must admit their failure if they hope to overcome it.
Conversely, by refusing to acknowledge a failure, often the failure will become even more serious. When problems are left un addressed or when failure is accompanied by a cover-up, there is the potential that the issues will become magnified.
For example, consider the baseball players during the “steroid era.” Those who initially attempted to cover up their involvement with performance-enhancing drugs have since been found out. Some of them are even facing charges of perjury from the U.S. government. On the other hand, those who came clean early on and admitted their failure have essentially been forgiven by society.
Likewise, when you experience failure, do not try to make excuses for it. Do not rationalize it. Do not deny it. Instead, admit that you have failed so that you can deal with it and move on.
2. Learn to forgive yourself and let it go.
When you refuse to forgive yourself for failure, you effectively chain yourself to that failure. And you will never escape until you learn to forgive yourself. Instead, that failure will hold a power over you, limiting your future success.
To experience freedom from your failure, you must learn to forgive yourself. Leave the failure in the past, and do not continually relive it.
Additionally, if your failure is also the responsibility of someone else, you must extend forgiveness to them, too. An unwillingness to forgive—whether forgiving yourself or others—will prevent you from overcoming the failure. Instead, the failure will continually be brought to the forefront, creating a barrier that prevents you from moving on in life.
3. Avoid exaggerating the seriousness of the failure.
The classic 1933 film “King Kong” is the story of a great ape that stood 24 feet tall. In the movie, King Kong was even able to pick up Fay Wray and carry her to the top of the Empire State Building. But in reality, the model used for the movie stood only two feet tall.
When we experience failure, all too often we treat our failure like that great ape. We view it as being much more imposing—much more devastating—than it really is. Looking at things for what they really are will help to overcome many of the obstacles you may encounter in life.