Failure. Generally speaking, failure is looked at quite negatively and is most times unacceptable. The common perspective is that failure corresponds directly with a lack of hard work. But does it? Failure is failure no matter what way you look at it. If you fail a test, you got an F and that’s that. You lose a basketball game and take an L, that’s that. Without knowing any details, failing is simply failing, an L on the board. But there are many underlying reasons for failure that make failing not so bad. Hard work is one of them. Let’s say you are competing in a social entrepreneurship competition being judged on quality and tangibility of your business plan’s success. FYI: this a real story of my experience from this type of competition. So your group works 20 hours a week for a month straight and you develop a rock solid business plan for your innovative idea. You pitch it great and are confident. 20 minutes later, the judges find that your idea was not as good as the competition. Just like that you’re done. You failed. The plan just wasn’t good enough. All the hours of hard work gone, just like that. I can confidently tell you that the feeling is not great, almost sickening to be honest. Failure is not fair, and that’s the simple truth. If you tell someone that you lost in the competition without any other details, they will think you didn’t try hard enough, when that’s not the case at all. Other reasons for failure can include but are not limited to: unethical behavior, lack of preparation, being unorganized, poor communication, poor teamwork, wanting to succeed for the wrong reasons, lack of confidence, and the list goes on. These are all reasons for failure that can be justified as corresponding to the effort put in. But with any failure in my opinion, success can be brought forth through recognition and productive change.
Going back to my point of failure is not fair. This statement can be justified by the fact that someone can work to their fullest potential, pour their heart into their work, and have all the best intentions only to fail. Steve Jobs for example, was fired from his own company that he started and said later looking back at it, “that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have happened for me.” And we all know what happened after that. A $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. Getting fired from your own company could quite possibly be one of the biggest stabs in the back possible but in the long run, it gave Jobs the motivation to make necessary changes and recreate his vision to manifest into what Apple is today. Many great success stories begin with failure and at the time, the failure doesn’t feel good. The pain of failure will develop into an appreciation for the present success. The pain will remind you of what went wrong in the previous failure to lower your chance of making the same mistake twice. Failing really is a maturing process that anyone of any age can experience. It becomes hard to appreciate what you have, if you have had it all your life. To lose, while it is temporarily painful, is to gain a higher appreciation and knowledge of future situations. Opportunities for future greatness lie in your failures. The capacity to look your failure in the face, accept it, and realize your worth and your future plan to prosper will go far in all of life’s endeavors.
I have noticed that immediately after failure (12-24 hours) it is tough to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I am assuming this is natural and I advise not to do anything irrational in this time period. Don’t even think about what went wrong yet, just wait until the next day or two days to look back at the result. This holding period will allow you to absorb the whole situation and gain hindsight into all the different factors that resulted in your failure. This is the stage of recovery where you analyze your work and I have been told to look at all the things you did right, then look at what things successful competitors did right and compare to find why you were unable to be as, if not more successful. This process will allow you to uncover your faults through analyzing the positives rather than the negatives. All you will have to look at is what you can do better. This is my perspective of a process that works for me. There are probably many other components that you can apply to make the post-failure process positive and productive. I believe I will continually learn these applications in the future by looking at other failure- to- success models and through firsthand experience. I’m a believer that you need failure in your life in order to spark a receptive perspective of life and confidence for WHEN failure happens again to know why it happened and how to handle it. Mastering the art of failure will give you greater power to conquer adversity in a productive and positive way.
To conclude I will further articulate the art of failure and relate this art to my Christian faith. For some reason, I have been hearing much more frequently the line, “you have to fail to succeed”, and of course I agree. This is very encouraging to hear from our generation and how this knowledge is becoming prominent in our thought processes. I may be hearing this more because of my increased following of entrepreneur-based Instagram accounts but I know for a fact that at least some of my peers recognize the art that all people and especially entrepreneurs should have mastered. This mastery by entrepreneurs alone is powerful but mastery by entrepreneurs with the Lord on their side is limitless. Entrepreneurs that are rich in faith, from my perspective, will make a big impact on our world. With God’s divine plan in mind, failure is part of it and it will end up redirecting or accelerating you down the path you need to go. When a faithful man fails, God has found a stronger candidate to carry out their task. A failure in one path could mean God is sending you a message that your success will be greater down a different path. God can also bring failure onto those who are strong in faith as a test of their strength in the Lord. Continuing to pursue greatness following disastrous failures is a display of great faith that the Lord will take care of you. This message of overcoming failure is rooted in the attitude. The belief that your failure was for the greater good and meant to be. This comfort will allow you to move into the next endeavor more confidently and positively than you went into the previous failures. The failure to success model can be personally and creatively crafted to produce a beautiful finished work that you can say was derived from failure. This is the art of failure in all of it’s beauty. Become a master of your failures and watch your life develop into a masterpiece of success that would have never been possible without your failures.