Many people are disheartened at one stage or another by failure.
They feel embarrassed and their self-esteem crashes right to the bottom. Colleagues avoid them and they learn who are truly their friends.
But viewed in the right perspective, failure can be a good learning lesson for everyone.
Unless you fail at something, you are not aware of what can go wrong and how you can progress to the next level.
If you acknowledge the following five characteristics of failure, you will dare to fail in your future ventures.
1. Failure is temporary
Failure is not a black hole that you fall into and get stuck there permanently.
It is only temporary. You have merely postponed your success.
Like tides of the ocean, waves of success rush onto your shores after the tides of failure retreat.
David Ireland wrote a book aptly titled Failure Is Written In Pencil.
Failure is not cast in stone. There is always a chance for life to begin on a brand new page.
2. Failure is reversible
Many people believe that when you fail, you are finished. Failure is not an irreversible chemical reaction.
Countless success stories have their origins in failure. Sowing the seeds of failure brings the fruits of success.
Many successful people were once regarded as failures. Maybe they were ahead of their time or they had not got the formula right.
The important thing was they did not give up.
3. Failure is a process
Failure is the process that failed. Often, this process is beyond your control.
When you fail in an event, you have actually failed in the process leading to it.
For instance, if a relationship breaks up, it is not on the day you part from someone that you failed. It is the duration of the relationship leading to the break-up that has failed.
4. Failing is courageous
The Apollo 13 mission to the moon in April 1970 is considered a “successful failure” because even though the lunar mission was not completed, the crew came back to Earth safely, despite the slimmest odds.
The courage of the astronauts throughout their ordeal in space and the tenacity of Mission Control in Houston impressed the world.
Failed missions would continue to occur from time to time but they did not stop Nasa from continuing the space programme.
If you see failure as part of achieving a greater good, you enter the arena of failure with a lion’s heart. Courage in times of failure makes you more resilient.
5. Failing stretches you and pushes your limits
Failing challenges your psychological strength. It pushes you to your limits till you fall.
That breaking point, called failure, is the full extent of your resources and capabilities.
Life is a high jump. The bar is raised inch by inch till you fail to cross over. That critical height is where you stretch yourself to the fullest.
If you do what you can and succeed, you are not stretching hard enough to realise your full potential.
If you succeed the first time, the target is not set high enough. Be very afraid if you succeed the first time.
Lessons learnt from failure prepare you for the next jump where the bar is raised higher. Over the long haul, you will achieve a higher level of performance, fuelled by a series of past failures.