“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
― Winston Churchill
For many of us, failure is not an option. We see failure as something catastrophic, something difficult to overcome and something that can ruin lives. It’s heart-breaking, frustrating, disappointing, and for some, very depressing and I am not ashamed to say that I was one of those who believed and felt this way about failure.
I don’t know, maybe this was God’s way of tapping me in the shoulder to make me realize what I’ve been doing or maybe I was bound to fail given the way I lived my life. I can be lazy at times and I was too impatient. I didn’t spend my money wisely and I seem content with where I am. I do have dreams, just to be clear, both for me and my family but I lacked action. I was a;ways willing to start but never see it through every time things don’t go my way.
Before we knew it, we’re already deep in debt and we still are as we speak. It’s depressing to see the bills mounting up while you try your best to avoid calls from the credit card company. And it finally happened one day. I hit rock bottom. I felt like throwing the white towel already and I was hopeless. This was less than a year ago but looking back, I realized that this could might as well be the best thing that happened to me because failure has brought me things I never saw a glimpse of before this major setback and here are some of them.
1. I learned how to be more positive – I would categorize myself as more of a pessimist back then. I was always worried that something bad may happen or something will not go the way I expected and guess what, they did. I didn’t even know about Murphy’s law but looking back, I now realize that I was going through it before.
Some of my friends advised me to think positive and be hopeful. Everything will be alright according to them and it did. No, I haven’t gotten out of my predicament but I am less worried now and my philosophy changed. I’m always thinking of a brighter tomorrow and that whatever difficulties I am going through, I know that it will all be over sometime soon.
2. I learned to love personal development – when you are in a dark place, you will do everything you can to see the light and I sought this out. In my most trying times, I needed some inspiration. I needed the motivation to keep pushing forward until every thing works out. I’ve told all of you before that I loved listening to podcasts and back then, the materials I listened to were mostly comedy and sports-related so when this whole situation happened, I looked for some motivational stuff and this is where I discovered, Sam Crowley of Everyday is Saturday and Joel Osteen.
I have these two gentlemen to be thankful for. Sam for his passionate way of pushing you to take action and Joel Osteen for making you realize that nothing’s impossible if you have a positive mindset. It didn’t stop with podcasts though. I also began to love personal development books and I’ve read several of them since. I wasn’t a big reader back then but my love for personal development and the availability of audio books has really turned things around for me.
3. I learned to find happiness – Can someone struggling financially be happy? If you asked me a year ago, I would have probably answered no but right now, it’s a resounding “YES!” My idea of happiness before was completely different. I used to think that you can be happy if you have everything you need and if you can buy whatever you want but there’s more to life than just money and material possession. My family is intact, my kids are healthy, and we get to eat three times a day. That’s more than enough for anyone to be happy.
4. I discovered my passion – Prior to my blog, my biggest exposure to writing was back in high school when I competed in journalism contests. My forte was news writing, sports writing and editorial cartooning and after high school, this talent remained dormant until failure made me rediscover my love for writing. It was like hitting two birds with one stone. I get to do something I love and learn from it that’s why I decided to write about personal development. I want to help people who have gone through a similar experience realize that they can actually benefit from failure and that’s when Life’s How You Live It was born.
5. I learned to believe in myself – I used to believe that I wasn’t good enough and that there was no more room for improvement and I was wrong. Failure and personal development has taught me to push myself to become a better person. I have learned so many things about being a leader, a father, a writer and a person that helped me gain confidence on myself. I realized that I am much better than how I viewed myself and that I can do anything if I put my mind to it.
6. I learned to be more forgiving – I used to be vindictive more than a year ago. Every time I hear people say bad things about me, I’m surely going to fight back, indirectly, via a Facebook post. An eye for an eye and a tooth for tooth in short and looking back, I realized that I was reacting rather negatively and in the process, becoming the same as the people who gossiped about me. Bitterness is counter-productive and it will hold you back from happiness that’s why from then on, I’ve learned to ignore the gossips and move forward instead of holding on to anger and hate.
7. I learned how to take responsibility – More than a year ago, every time I screw up, I am surely going to find excuses and blame someone or something else for it (even if sometimes it’s really quite obvious). Experiencing failure made me realize that wherever I am and whatever happened to me was because of me and me alone and that there’s no one else to blame. I don’t have to come up with excuses or pass the blame anymore. Everyone commits mistakes and I am not perfect just like everybody else.
It’s really up to us what we would like to make of failure. You can treat it as a result or an end or you can choose to make it your teacher and learn from it. Sometimes it takes failure to bring us back to reality and give us clarity. The choice is really up to us. You can choose to be miserable and cry in one corner or you can choose to break out of the funk, pick yourself up, and try again.
What has failure brought to your life?
I would love to hear from you so feel free to leave a comment or feedback below.
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