Failure Is Not The End Of The Road
“Failure is a bend in the road, not the end of the road. Learn from failure and keep moving forward.” — Roy T. Bennett
Failure develops within us the resiliency and perseverance to rise above our disappointments. It is the space where courage unfolds to transcend our failures. Before we begin, consider your most recent failures. Reflect on one or two that stand out. What lessons did you learn from them? What risks did you take to reach these failure points? Was it worth it?
Here’s an idea to consider: Failure sharpens the saw of our character and reveals dormant powers necessary to rise above our challenges. Despite the negativity failure receives, it can help us decide what is important when pursuing our goals. Failure gives rise to unforeseen powers such as hope, courage and optimism. When we are disheartened chasing after a goal or dream, we have no other option than to lean on courage to get us through. And here’s the thing: failure is often a detour to a better destination. Therefore, we mustn’t assume we are a failure if our plans do not materialise in the way we expect. This is because we mustn’t tie our self-worth to the outcomes, but consider the lessons learned from them.
There is bravery in failing because once we have risked it all, we develop the courage to start again, with renewed optimism this time. Passion, enthusiasm and a deep commitment to honour our purpose lie at the heart of overcoming failure. Therefore, failure reveals the courage to try again, this time more persistently. It awakens within us the perseverance to rise above our setbacks and disappointments. This is where we meet courage to help us transcend our setbacks. Consider courage as the endurance quality required to fuel our endeavours. The more endurance and commitment given towards our goals and dreams, the greater the chance we will pursue it enthusiastically. Is this idea resonating with you so far? Are you comfortable knowing failure is not the end of the road but the beginning of where hope meets courage?
Expressed differently: courage is the opportunity to reignite our failures and turn them into focused attention to achieve our goals. Courage helps us get clear on inspired action to achieve our goals because we develop a renewed commitment towards our pursuits. Courage literally does the heavy lifting and if you’ve ever called upon courage, you will recall the inspired motivation towards your goals. It infuses it with something greater than our human qualities.
Failure Is The Space Where Courage Unfolds
“Often the difference between a successful person and a failure is not one has better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on one’s ideas, to take a calculated risk – and to act.” — Andre Malraux
Equally, courage and failure live in the same space because what we give our attention to determines whether we succeed or fail. The point I wish to emphasise is: we can choose to see failure as a dead end or the crossroad where opportunity lies. If we orientate our attention to what we have to gain, we see our challenges giving rise to a deeper commitment to achieve them. In other words, we must reframe failure as a worthwhile pursuit, edging us closer to our goals. We may ask ourselves: “What else do I need to learn, improve upon, to succeed at this goal?” This way, we consider failure through the lens of growth and opportunity because it becomes a signpost to achieve our goals.
For example, I’ve written and published three books and finished writing my fourth book this year. I mention this because when I wrote the first book, the idea of writing 80,000 words frightened me. It felt out of my league, especially since I had no formal education in creative literature. I thought of myself as an imposter, and there were times I wanted to quit. I compared myself to established authors, which frightened me more. Can you relate to this, where you have undertaken a goal or project and felt way in over your head?
Nonetheless, I defined the project into manageable bits I tackled each day. I hired experts, such as editors, to polish my work. I reached out to those in the publishing industry and asked for their advice on book layout, cover design and other aspects of book publishing. I made a lot of mistakes, including not proofing the cover design for the book. This meant I was stuck with a design I didn’t like, but after negotiating with the printer, I rectified the situation with little fuss. In hindsight, the mistakes and failures helped me write and develop subsequent books and learn how to become an author.
You see, if we are committed to our goals, we mustn’t view failure as the end, but the opportunity to improve upon our mistakes, so we succeed. This is why courage helps us redirect our attention to what we are likely to gain. It is what Carol Dweck refers to as adopting a Growth Mindset, instead of a Fixed Mindset. We look at our problems through the lens of growth and expansion, instead of believing we are a failure or our goals have failed.
With this in mind, I invite you to return to the questions I asked you in the opening paragraph. Spend some time answering them in your journal or where you write notes. See if you can get a clear picture of what failure has taught you? Yes, the lessons may be costly, but they are invaluable, so they are not repeated. Sometimes, the lessons from our failures may not be apparent right away. However, with careful exploration, you will find the insights gained will help you succeed in future endeavours. After all, failure is the space where courage unfolds because if we have acted according to our deeper purpose, defeat mustn’t deter us, but generate the courage to achieve our goals.