This article was last updated on October 16, 2016
There are people who will tell you that perseverance and grit are the keys to success. That in moments of doubt, you must remember that success is just around the corner.
On the other hand, there are people who will tell you that you will be smarter for learning from your mistakes, and adopting new strategies to use in the future. They will tell you that you cannot continue to repeat the same behaviors over and over expecting to yield different results.
One of the most difficult things in life is deciding when to keep going, and when to move on.
Regardless of the advice, when someone is trying to make us feel better about the shitty situation we’re in, the thought usually appears in our minds that, “I feel like a failure.”
The truth is, we have the wrong approach when it comes to thinking about ‘failure.’
Failure is merely the lack of fulfillment of a given goal. Everything else we bring to the term lives only in our imagination.
Failure is a passing phase that appears many times throughout the course of each of our lives. Failure can even become the motivation for our greatest achievements if we approach the concept the right way.
As the owner of a tutoring company, I have personally seen several students failing school or college level exams, breaking down, and then, scoring excellent grades in the same exam next semester.
Failure can transcend into success when you realize that there are in fact methods to defeat that little voice in your head that says “I feel like a failure.” When you begin to understand that Failure is simply a feeling, and that you can choose how to react to it when it arises, you can begin to make proper use of it.
Never equate ‘failure’ with ‘incapability.’
Just find out what caused you to fail, correct that, and your ‘Failure’ will turn into ‘Success’ in no time.
Why Do We “Fail?”
Usually, we “fail because of one or more of these three reasons:
- We do not have clear goals, and do not know the direction in which we are going.
- We do not have the right plan or strategy to follow – to achieve the goals we’ve set.
- We do not follow the plan correctly, or you do not have the right systems or tools to follow it.
How To React to “Feeling like a failure”
Identify the reason behind your failure and fix it. Once you know what you want, and what needs to be done to achieve it, you are already on the path to success.
Now, all you have to do is to come up with an easy and optimal system to take action. Determine the steps that need to be taken to get where you want, develop a checklist, measure the outcomes and results, and review and adjust your systems accordingly.
3 Ways To Fire Yourself Up When You’re Thinking “I feel like a Failure”
(1) When you’re really feeling down, take a moment to re-boot your life
Be aware of your mind and body’s warning signs. If you are thinking that your ‘course’, your ‘career’, your ‘life’, your ‘marriage’ is not worth it anymore, walk away from it all. A nice little (or long) break from your studies or your work may do wonders for you. Unplug yourself.
Go for a walk, get a good massage at a spa, have a beer with your friend, or just read a book you like. Do whatever you want to.
Once you feel better, you can decide what you want to ‘reset’ in life. Think about the type of circumstances you would actually want to see in your life. What type of circumstances would make you happier? Then start devising a plan to achieve that vision. Remember, you have power over your life.
(2) Get in touch with your true goals
Life is filled with distractions, and we often forget why we began a given action in the first place. We completely forget what the purpose of our aim was.
Whenever you’re thinking “I feel like a failure,” assess your true, sincere goals, and see whether you’re going in the desired direction. If you are going down the wrong path, stop. Stop wasting your time.
Doing the things that we think are right and healthy for us, makes us feel happier. Do what you are supposed to do, take a few steps towards your dream goal, and you will see your heart fluttering once again.
(3) Reach out for Help
Many of us are too proud to accept that we need help or support. Get over yourself. Talking to someone about the way you’re feeling may help you clear your head. Very often the cause of our negative feelings is that we’re only talking to ourselves and not hearing what others think.
Reach out to friends and family and ask them what they would do in your shoes. What steps they would take. Tell them what you want and let them guide you in the right direction. Even saying what your feeling out loud will have a huge impact. Even just knowing that there is someone to help you can work wonders for freeing up your energy.
If all else fails…
Pema Chödrön, the Buddhist teacher and the author of ‘Fail, Fail Again, Fail Better’ points out that people define ‘success’ as “things are working out the way I want them to.” It means any other thing that might happen makes them feel like a ‘failure’. They start blaming others, or even worse, blaming themselves for the supposed failure.
It means any other outcome besides the one they imagine in their mind will make them feel like a ‘failure.’
He goes on to explain that once you realize that your failures are nothing but “waves that knock you down,” you will gather the courage to stand up once again and keep walking. Once you accept these waves as ‘inevitable’, they don’t seem so huge and powerful anymore.
We have to remember that each moment in our life is absolutely fresh and full of energy.
Let us not burden it with our ‘supposed’ failures in the past, and use it in the best possible way to create a better future for ourselves…and for others.