The psychology of failure

Have you ever realized success based on your past failures?

Have you ever realized success based on your past failures?

Understanding failure is pretty straightforward. We love and celebrate success. Thus, we dislike and shun its opposite, failure. But, that’s not really good logic. You see, it depends on how your define things. I want you to stop thinking about success and failure as chronic states. A much more productive perspective is to view success as an achievement in one defined area. In contrast, failure is merely one part of a process of learning that helps increase the chance of future success.

Now, from that perspective, it seems so useful, but we know that arriving at this conclusion is very difficult for most people. The reason is fear of failure. In fact, we know that fear of failure is the primary reason people fail to set personal goals and always set weak professional goals. It’s important to note that this fear is not really driven by our level of self-confidence. It affects everyone because our fear of failure is created socially. To be frank, it starts with our educational systems.

Most of them train young people to value a good grade and to fear a bad grade, making fear of failure a deeply ingrained mental process from our earliest days. On top of this, we live in a society that is based on competition. In addition to sports competitions, we compete for scholarships, internships, jobs, promotions, and so on. No one wants to lose. That’s why people avoid new jobs and career paths and refrain from trying new hobbies. They fear the very real learning curve that goes with doing anything new. They fear not getting it right. They fear others questioning their competence and intelligence. They fear a lack of acceptance. These fears can be justified, but they are not productive.

There’s a better choice

You see, our main mental mistake is to over-focus on one failure incident instead of stepping back to see the big picture, to view our average self, so to speak, instead of only one data point. You have to remember that any given failure is but one frame in a very long piece of film. It’s real and it can be painful, but it does not define you. When you give a failure too much weight and let it define you like a label instead of letting it ignite learning, well, you start a predictable failure cycle.

We avoid failure

We avoid dealing with when it does happen. The failures pile up mentally, causing you a huge cognitive burden until, finally, you have a break down and you question your worth. But it doesn’t have to be that way. The transformation of how you view failure begins right now. You only have to remember one basic piece of logic. Failure is normal and necessary. I want you to think about that idea. You see, when you accept and embed that idea into your daily thinking routine, that’s when the negative idea of failure begins to fade while positive ideas about learning and improving become your focus.

See also