Failure is Important

Earlier this week, Mark Fishbach (aka Markiplier) posted something that spoke deeply to me. He talked about failure and why failure happens, more importantly, he talks about how to recover from failure.

One thing that I truly believe is that failure is inevitable. You are going to fail in something at some time in some way. Sometimes the overall impact is relatively small and sometimes it’s a devastating failure that you feel like you’ll never recover from – but you will recover from it, as long as you find your way out.

Here are a few things that I found useful to find my way out of failure:
1. Give yourself a defined period of time to deal with your feelings after a failure. That period of time should be between 3-5 days. Seriously. I know that feelings in general don’t have a cutoff period, but if you don’t give yourself a restricted period of time, you can end up wallowing in feelings of failure and inadequacy indefinitely.

2. Things that are useful to contemplate while mourning, because you are mourning:
2a. You are more than your failures.
2b. This is fixable.
2c. All of this is completely transitory. Today is not forever.
While I know it is difficult to hear things like this when you’re in your feels, but they’re true. Keep these things in mind, write them down if it helps, but remember their truth.

3. Once you’re through your mourning period, consider why you missed your goal or failed to accomplish something. Was it overly ambitious? Were the baby steps towards your goal ill-defined or were there too few of them? Did you choose a goal for reasons that weren’t well-defined or selected because you believed it to be something that you *should* do or something that was expected of you?

4. Was your goal poorly defined so you couldn’t be realistic with your benchmarks? Perhaps a goal of “dedicate 10 minutes a day to learning a new language” rather than “learn X language” is a better way to define things for yourself. Establishing a new habit is sometimes the real solution to a problem.

5. Talk through things with a close friend or family member. Before you start, ask them to just listen and let you talk through your thoughts before offering any suggestions or commentary. Sometimes saying things out loud to another person makes things clearer to ourselves. Communicate what you’ve learned just through using them as a sounding board and then welcome their commentary/suggestions. Take them on-board while you develop your process for recovery.

6. Know that everyone fails. Literally everyone.
-Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first television job.
-JK Rowling wrote the majority of “Harry Potter” while jobless, divorced, pennyless, and taking benefits (the UK equivalent of Welfare). Her book was then rejected by 12 major publishers before she got a book deal.
-Michael Jordan was cut from his High School basketball team.

7. The difference in failures is how you recover from them. There are few failures that you can not recover from in some way.

Samuel Beckett wrote, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” It has become cliched over time, but its truth can not be ignored. Failure is going to happen, how you recover is truly important.

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