I learned more from failure than I learned from success
I learned more no thank you, so much more than yes
I learned to be willing to lead with my chin,
And if I were willing to lose I could win
– Barry Manilow
It is hard for me to believe I am citing Barry Manilow but I absolutely love this quote. It reminds me of one of my greatest failures.David Forsythe was a beast of a boy. We attended the same school in 8th grade, my first year as a wrestler (I think David began wrestling at age 2 or 3). He was strong and mean and took great pleasure in throwing me all over the mat in practice. 2 years later as a sophomore in a different high school I found myself wrestling against him in the finals of a tournament. To the surprise of most people, including myself, I was winning comfortably in the 3rd and final round. With less than 15 seconds left in the match, David stuck me with a double underhook, flipped me to my back and pinned me. It was devastating.
“The events we bring upon ourselves, no matter how unpleasant, are necessary in order to learn what we need to learn; whatever steps we take, they’re necessary to reach the places we’ve chosen to go.” –Richard Bach
The dictionary defines failure as “The condition or fact of not achieving the desired end or ends.” This loss certainly qualified. Here are some suggestions when you don’t achieve your desired end (I recommend you record your reflections in a journal).
1. Evaluate your natural tendencies
What do you do when you fail? Where do you go mentally and emotionally? What do you make it mean about you, the result, and the world you live in? What do you say to yourself? How does it tend to change the course of your life?
“Lessons repeat themselves until learned.”
2. Look for the lesson
Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “lessons repeat themselves until learned.” Have you found yourself in a similar dilemma in the past? What are the common denominators that contributed to you ending up here? Are there tendencies, habits, or areas of neglect which led you here? Be brutally honest. Take the stance that there is a lesson here and you can learn it. It may be helpful to “pull yourself out of the picture.” Step back and see yourself in a movie. You are now watching the hero (you) struggle with a seemingly insurmountable challenge. What strengths, people, strategies and other resources can our hero call on? You might even want to create some theme music for your road toward victory.
“I never failed once, it just happened to be a 2000 step process.” –Thomas Edison