Feeling hurt and sad when you’ve failed to achieve something, regardless of how big or small it may be, is only natural and there’s little point in dwelling on past failures. Nowadays people put too much effort into avoiding failure and this does nothing apart from lead to painful situations. Many of us have probably experienced this at one time or another. The fear of failing can be immobilizing – it can cause us to do nothing, and therefore resist moving forward. But when we allow fear to stop our forward progress in life, we're likely to miss some great opportunities along the way.
We all have different definitions of failure, simply because we all have different benchmarks, values, and belief systems. A failure to one person might simply be a great learning experience for someone else. Fear of failure can be linked to many causes. For instance, having critical or unsupportive parents is a cause for some people. Because they were routinely undermined or humiliated in childhood, they carry those negative feelings into adulthood. It's almost impossible to go through life without experiencing some kind of failure. People who do so probably live so cautiously that they go nowhere. Put simply, they're not really living at all.
It appears that focusing on the emotions of failure can trigger different thoughts and behaviours. Perhaps when you reflect on how bad you feel after failing, it motivates you to avoid experiencing that feeling again. We all have bad days and weeks, when nothing seems to go right. We all also have times when we fail to achieve something that we really wanted and find it hard to cope. However, some people seem much more able to pick themselves up and dust themselves down after these experiences than others.
Dr. Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University, has conducted extensive research on failure and how it operates within the brain to produce varying outcomes on subjects with different mindsets. The first group of her test subjects, who fell into the “growth mindset” group, showed massive improvement when faced with failure due to an enhanced focus state that was triggered shortly after failing a task, forcing them to learn and improve.
There’s another interesting point to make when it comes to success and failure and their effects on the brain. According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review, success has a huge impact on neuroplasticity in the brain and helps us to learn whereas failure has displayed impact on our learning.
View Failure as a Learning Opportunity and Take Notes
Failure is such a debilitating feeling because we associate it with losing and with finishing. Failing does not mean that you have lost. It also doesn’t mean that you need to be prevented from moving forward because of the failure.
Shift your perspective and view failure as an opportunity to grow and learn. Once you see failure in this light, you can then begin to approach it with a different mindset; a mindset that will help you to quickly transform your actions into ones that lead to success.