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The 4 Things Life Taught Me About Failure

The 4 Things Life Taught Me About Failure

Life Abroad

Failure. There it is. The word which haunts us. The two syllables which make us cringe just by hearing them used in our direction. That enormous sinking feeling after you realize that your best wasn’t enough.
That feeling.

Forgive yourself, but don’t forget to promise that next time you are going to do something different.

  1. It always feels bad. No matter how prepared you are, how hard you worked and how terribly you did, it will always feel bad. How you do the next time is what will make you feel good. Work towards that.
  2. Don’t expect other people to give you that pat you need. I’m especially bad about remembering this one. Because when I fail, the little girl inside me wants someone to give her a hug and say “it’s ok, you did the best you could.” The reality is that maybe you didn’t do the best you could. Maybe you didn’t prepare properly. Maybe you expected too much for the actual work you put in. When that happens, cry and scream if you have to but don’t blame anyone but yourself. Then forgive yourself, but don’t forget to promise that next time you are going to do something different.
  3. Don’t let anyone else decide your life after failure. It is way too tempting to let the current take you away after a failure. To quit, stop trying, or even allow someone else to tell you what you should be doing. There is nothing wrong with good advice, but you be the person who decides where you go! You might decide to just get up and try again. Or, you might decide to take a different path. Either one is an ok outcome as long as you aren’t running away from your failure but confronting it with a strong decision which will ensure you come out ahead in the long run.
  4. Fail Forward. Especially when you want to curl up in a ball, is the time to make a new plan and move onward. Let that failure ensure your future success. Take advantage of a lesson you were fortunate to receive. Not everyone fails, and those who don’t are unprepared to cope with it when it does eventually happen. Some will even fail but refuse to learn the lesson. Don’t be that person. Be the person who comes out stronger, faster, smarter…..whatever “it” is that drives you forward, do that.

Let’s Talk About My Failure (s)

I didn’t study hard enough and lost my college scholarship. It hurt receiving that letter. However, the world I experienced as a result made me a stronger person. It goes without saying that I paid for that lesson. I will never be as employable in the United States as that person who studied harder, made better decisions, and has a bachelor degree. I will never earn as much. But I would never have discovered Colombia, the love of my life, or even parenthood probably, if I hadn’t suffered that failure.

I lost more horse-show classes than I ever came out of with ribbons. I was the girl who was rich enough to have her own truck, trailer and horses, but poor enough that I had to work for part of it and go to competitions alone. But if I had been that girl with the doting parents, fancy horse and blue ribbons, maybe I would never have learned how to work for and earn my desires.

More recently I failed my karate belt test. Was it my fault? On the one hand, I think someone helped me along but that doesn’t matter. What does matter is that I could have been more well prepared. I had just enough arrogance to truly believe that I would be able to waltz in and just make it happen. I learned from this one too. I learned that no matter how in-control we think we are, surprises happen. Expect the unexpected. I also learned that it’s also ok to know ourselves, pace ourselves and not be afraid to ask for more time to prepare, or for a different option. I genuinely did work pretty hard.  I should have probably waited one more week. Honestly, I feel terrible. I feel like shit. But I am here writing this because I am going to work harder, be more prepared and most importantly, stop feeling sorry for myself.



About the author

English Teacher, Freelancer, Chocolate Entrepreneur and Traveler!!

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