One of things I am seeing a lot in my journey of helping create transformation in people’s journey is the connection of failure to who they are as a person. Our view of failure is often instilled in us as kids, when we fail to achieve, win, score a goal, get a high mark or get the result others expect of us. We are told anything from: you’re not good enough, I am disappointed in you, so that’s the best your can do, to the silent treatment or being told everything we did wrong. If we don’t learn that failure fatal while we are growing up, we will certainly learn it from the world, our culture and even our leaders. When you make a mistake or fail, there is something wrong with you.
The fear that we then create around possible failure can stop us from experiencing many things we really want in life. When we see failure as a devastating negative about who we are, then this fear of failure will step in and control you. So we don’t do anything in case we fail. When we see failure as feedback for growth, as a learning journey, then it becomes a pathway to success.
Feedback is positive. Failure is negative. A clear difference exists between these two ways of thinking. Feedback enables us to learn from our mistakes – for instance, we have to put in more efforts, change our behaviour or adjust our priorities. Failure, on the other hand, evokes adverse feelings such as erosion of confidence, a poor self-image or lack of incentive to improve which inevitably leads to low level of achievement.
“Failures” are the feedback we need to correct our way towards a desired result or outcome. We can negatively label what we do which falls short of success as ‘failure’ or alternatively, we could view it positively as feedback for growth, development and improvement