Initially, when a failure occurs, it is often perceived in a negative light. However, failure can bring more good than bad, depending on our perspective and reactions to it.
For example, let’s say you’ve struggled with addiction for several years, but you made the decision to enter rehab and become sober. While abusing substances overwhelmed your brain with euphoria, you knew that there was more value in living a life that felt real rather than numb.
As an addict, it is difficult to realize there is more to this life than your drug of choice. Therefore, it takes trial and error to become and stay sober. Many attempts end in relapse. That’s why so many addicts are fearful to even try a sober life.
Yet, accepting and embracing the fear of trying and failing is better than never feeling truly fulfilled or happy. Consequently, these relapses are necessary “failures” in the big pictures. They are actually stepping stones to embracing a genuine life.
This is just one scenario out of many possible life circumstances that people face. As such, many of us can relate to the idea that lack of action is worse than failing at that action. Especially, action is vital when you know, deep down, that life has the potential to be more rewarding.
In life, failure is important. We often learn more from our failures than our successes. As well, it makes us tougher, building courage and character. Here are five valuable lessons one can learn from life’s setbacks:
1. There is no such thing as the end of the world
When we fail, it feels that the entire world is crashing all around us. At times, we may have little hope that we can pick up the pieces. But that’s the thing – it’s only a feeling and not the actual truth.
Life constantly moves forward and doesn’t stop for anyone. Luckily, we have the power over two important factors: our perspective and reactions. This life is what we make of it. It is not defined by what is thrown at us but how we respond to it.
2. We have the choice to build our character because of failure
Our character is defined by how we react to our failures, and not by the actual failure itself. If we choose to view setbacks as motivators and catalysts for self-improvement, then we will inherently become emotionally resilient. Consequently, we learn to cope with difficult circumstances. On the other hand, if use failure as an excuse to give up and not try again, then we become stuck and never improve.
3. What’s actually important becomes more apparent
After we cool down from the emotional turmoil of failure, we may find motivation to assess if our priorities were in the right place when we made certain decisions. As a result, we may realize the need to change our values, or that we’ve been oblivious to what is truly important to us.
If we take the time to assess a negative situation, the bigger picture may become clearer. Thus, we are reminded that our lives can never be defined by one failure. Instead, life is an accumulation of many different experiences and relationships.
4. There is value in rationality
While “following your heart” is a great foundation for propelling yourself forward towards accomplishing goals, it shouldn’t be the “end-all-be-all” way of thinking. At times, we must choose to be rational and less impulsive when making a choice or taking action. Failure can teach us to carefully consider the impact of future actions. Ultimately, failure guides us towards making better decisions, even if our rational choices are challenging or scary.
5. Empathy and compassion, not self-criticism, help us move forward
Naturally and more often than not, humans tend to automatically criticize and blame themselves for failing and making mistakes. That’s because failure strips us of our ego and forces us to look at ourselves in an honest light. We realize that we will always make mistakes, no matter how we try to pretend we have everything under control. The beauty is that everyone in the world is in the same boat!
Being empathic and compassionate towards ourselves is what helps us move forward, not self-criticism or blame. As we continue to experience failure, we learn how to show ourselves kindness after making mistakes. As a result, we start to view experiences, regardless of their outcome, as valuable influencers of character and life.
We can never escape failure, no matter how hard we try. Being imperfect and making mistakes are human nature, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. Through life’s setbacks, we can become wiser and better-rounded individuals.
While fearing failure is normal, I encourage you to wholeheartedly embrace it. If we attempted to avoid failure and life’s painful lessons, then how could we say that we have truly lived?
About the Author
Trevor McDonald is a freelance writer and recovering addict & alcoholic who has been clean and sober for over two years. Since his recovery began he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources and addiction awareness. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying about any type of fitness activity imaginable.
This article (The Importance of Failure: 5 Valuable Lessons We Can Learn from Life’s Setbacks) is copyrighted by Awareness Junkie, 2018. You may not copy, reproduce or publish any content therein without written permission. Feel free to share this article on social networks and via email. If you have questions, please contact us here.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Moreover, views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Awareness Junkie or its staff.