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The Power of Failing

Kevin Brown

01/31/23| Motivation


The Power of Failing

“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.”- Nelson Mandela

I hate when I mess up.

On anything.

Big things. Small things.

Failure drives me crazy. I am my own worst critic. When I make a mistake, I tend to beat myself up.

A lot.

Self-loathing has been a problem for me for most of my life.

I am better than I used to be.

But still. It can sneak up on me when I let my guard down.

Here’s what I have learned.

Failure is part of life.

It is also part of success. Failure is perhaps the most critical part of achievement.

I mean, what else would we measure against?

Good judgment is the byproduct of bad judgment. It teaches us what works and what doesn’t.

It reveals weaknesses that require attention.

And avoidance.

Failure can become like kryptonite.

If we let it.

It can rob us of the gifts that live within us. And deny the world of our greatness.

Or it can fuel us.

Drive us.

To be better.

My therapist and I have talked about this on many occasions. She said, “there are only two questions you need to ask yourself when you fail.

What is the positive? What did I learn?”

That’s it.

To dwell on it does no good. At all.

To beat yourself up pretty much guarantees you’ll do it again because you’re focused on the failure instead of the lesson.

When we don’t learn the lesson, life will keep giving us the test.

Over and over again.

The truth is, we have to hit the delete button when it comes to failure. Just like when we’re typing an email or text. If we make a mistake we can simply delete and start over. We can analyze the conversation and choose a better path.

In life, we can hit the delete button too.

Here’s how it works.

When you mess up…

Acknowledge it.

  • Forgive yourself.
  • What is the positive?
  • What did you learn?
  • Move on.

It’s the only way to improve.

Oh, and give yourself the gift of compassion.

Know that life is not predictable or perfect.

You are, right now, the best version of you. And what you learn when you fall down is what allows you to stand taller tomorrow.

You are amazing.

And the good thing is, you have an opportunity every day to get even better.

This week, focus on the lessons life is teaching you. Make incremental improvements and celebrate the wins.