Failure is one necessary step towards achieving anything which is significant. Failure needs to be accepted, as fear of failure never allows you to take any risks. It pushes you into inaction which is the bane of life. Inaction is worse than procrastination. In any one’s life, procrastination is the enemy of a strong personality. It fills you with guilt which goes on increasing. Though failure has many negative effects, there are also some positive outcomes. In this essay, I would like to discuss both the negative and positive attributes of the failure. More importantly, I will put forth some suggestions on how we can leverage the positive aspects of failure and use it as a tool to propel us towards achieving our mission.
Negative aspects of failure are listed below:
i) It discourages you. Sometimes you get into depression as you feel you are good for nothing.
ii) It affects our positivity. It tends to weaken our hope and brings in a streak of pessimism in our life.
iii) We start avoiding company of our successful peers which dampens our spirits. This in turn weakens our personality.
iv) Sometimes, it may make you feel that life is good for nothing. It is not worth living. You want to escape. In worst cases, it pushes people to try to commit suicide.
v) In order to cover the loss due to failure, it may make the victim reckless. Trying to cover losses without proper thinking, the person plunges into bigger problems, debts etc.
vi) Often, failure leads to addiction. In a bid to escape facing the realities of life the ‘failed person’ resorts to drinking, drugs etc.
vii) Failure brings social stigma whereby people look down upon you. No one likes to be in the company of someone who has failed. Failure is not accepted as a part of struggle for success is some societies.
viii) It is sad but the victim is often ridiculed to make matters worse. Instead of helping to pull the person out of trouble those who had harbored some kind of grudge enjoy putting spanner in the wheel. The victim suffers even more.
ix) Extreme anxiety attacks the mind and the victim starts doubting everything. Suspicion brings further misery to the life of the victim.
x) Besides, failure may result in sleeplessness. It aggravates the difficulties and problems. It also affects health and weakens the mind.
So much for the negative impact of failure. Positive results of failure are also many, if the failure is viewed in the proper perspective. How the failure impacts a person or an organization depends on your immediate response after the failure takes place. If you own the failure and analyze the reasons, failure turns a teacher. Best lessons are drawn only from failures. But if you start the blame game and assign reasons of your failure to some people, sabotage or even the circumstances to give yourself a clean chit the failure snowballs into worse failure.
These are many reasons why failure should be viewed positively. I will list 5 which are most important according to some psychologists. These are:
i) As said above, failure acts as a teacher. Follow the lessons learned in a failed attempt and don’t repeat the same. Lessons learnt during failed projects, when put to practice and adopted suitably, shape the character.
ii) Failure inspires you to innovate. If one thing does not work, you try another. All scientific inventions are based on this aspect a failure. Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed. But I have found out 10,000 ways in which things don’t work”.
iii) Failure is used for quality enhancement. For any product, the quality department will try to find out the circumstances in which the product fails. But for software programmers this is just a necessary tool.
iv) Failure enables individuals to face facts of life. It helps you to understand that struggle in life is necessary. This is the only way you can come up.
v) The worst factor in anyone’s life is fear. Failure helps you to overcome your inherent fear and makes you courageous. Further, you develop courage to take calculated risks in life. This is necessary as the dictum – no risk no gains.
Having talked about the negative and positive aspects of failure, let us deal with the question, “How negative effects of failure can be countered and how can we turn failure into success? I give below the answer as 5 steps that we must take to achieve the desired results.
Step I. Be prepared to accept failure. For any venture which poses some risks you must be prepared for the worst at the beginning itself. In this case you will be able to handle the situation because you are not taken by surprise.
Step II. Create a strong desire in your mind to succeed in spite of the grave difficulties on the way. Become prepared to face the difficulties and work hard. Don’t expect the task to be easy. You strong desire will help you to adopt this attitude.
Step III. Open your mind to embrace any change that you may have to make in your plan of action. World is changing fast and there is no science to inform you what changes will take place and when. Your open mindedness will come to your rescue.
Step IV. Develop your mind power. Comfort or discomfort resides only in mind. While a heavy traffic cannot deter someone from enjoying listening to the music in cool comfort of an air-conditioned car, it can be a harrowing experience for another soul who is not prepared to adopt the change.
Step V) Last but not the least, choose a role model. There are many great world leaders who have embraced many failures before coming out as great winners. Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela or Steve Jobs- who was turned out the company he started, are just a few examples.
Therefore, choose your role model. Read and understand his/her life. Draw your own lessons and go ahead with your projects.
When we focus only on the positive attributes of failure during the journey of the work involved, we will be rid of the harmful impact of so many of the negative attributes of failure. So our attitude and choice of actions make all the difference.
Thanks for reading.