I just came from losing a game that I play on my phone and it made me think about failure and how even a small thing such as losing a match on Words With Friends can be frustrating. If you have ever played the game 30 seconds you will understand what I mean. I don’t usually compete with other people or my peers, and I especially do not compete with strangers on the internet. But, I started playing this online game during the lockdown and it has brought out a competitive streak I never knew I had. I found out something new about myself, I
LIKE LOVE winning. It makes me happy to know that the minutes or hours I put onto that game did not go to waste. But, when I lose, I become sour for a while and get off my phone to do something else.
This also made me think about my reaction to failure in my life. Not the virtual game life, but real life. I realised that I can be very hard on myself when I fail. Thinking back to those times when I worked so hard for something and did not succeed at it or the opportunity was given to someone else, I remember labelling those moments as failures. I have been an overachiever most of my life because the idea of failure scares me. If you grow up in a family in which failing is not an option, you may feel that if you do not succeed, you will not be accepted. A lot of us know families like this, where there is no room for failure.
No one likes to fail, at anything.
When we set out to do something, the aim is to succeed and not fail. One thought that I have read and agree with, is that failure itself is not so bad. Bear with me as I explain this. If you never try anything, how will you know whether or not you can do it? That means if you try and fail, you still win because you dared to try something and at the very least, you learned something. Either you learn that the thing you failed in is not for you, or you learn how to do it differently the next time you try. Either way, you learn something.
The magic is in the process and in the attempt.
So although I lost that round of Words With Friends this evening, I now know more words to add to my vocabulary than I did when I started. Plus, I was able to entertain myself for hours, scratching my head to come up with words. So even if I lost, the exercise to my brain was worth it. See how I have managed to turn my loss around? I am feeling so much better about my loss than I did a couple of minutes ago.
You can do the same if you are dealing with a case of failure. I know my example is a minor case where I don’t stand to lose anything, besides my pride. At times we fail at business or school and the standard of our lives is compromised for years after the failure. If we could all have it our way, we would choose not to fail at all. But consider this: Remember what the process taught you and focus on the lessons and not the loss. The experience builds character and you will be better and more able to help others with the story of your experience because you dared to try.
It is not about the number of times you fall that matters, but the number of times you get up and try again.
Hope this encourages someone today. I invite you to also encourage someone. If you could give someone advice on how to deal with failure, what would it be? Please drop your advice below.
Until next time,