How Failure Reveals Our True Form

Posted by on Apr 6, 2011 in Uncategorized |

It’s easy to smile when things go your way, but how we react when things go south is the true test.

When things happen just as you’d hoped, your pulse races. Adrenaline flows and you can’t help but tell the world. The smile on your face is uncontrollable. Nobody can tear you down in that moment. Things went exactly as you’d hoped. Maybe better. You put everything you had into that project . You dreamed of the success, the riches, the fans, and how everyone would fawn over your talent. Now that moment is here.

But what about the other side of coin? The one we all see far more regularly?

You’ve spent X amount of time on your project, and as above, you’ve dreamed about what it will be like when everyone see’s it. You’ve created it, tested it, polished it and now it’s ready. Regardless of the outcome, congratulations, you saw the project through to the end. A huge feet no doubt.

But then something awful and yet all too common happens. You give it to the world and they spit it back at you. It’s not functional, it’s terribly written, not enough editing, someone else already came up with a similar product that outshines yours. Your devastated. Your very soul is being ripped out. That same soul you plunged into your project night after night, on weekends and holidays. You put everything you had into it and they hate it? How can that be?

Now stop.

Before you react, take a breath. I’d tell you to forget about it for a while, but we both know that’s not possible. Instead, walk away from it for a few days. Rethink everything. Maybe your audience wasn’t ready for it. It really is brilliant. Maybe you didn’t do enough research, and you were ill prepared. Or maybe, your project just wasn’t as ready as you thought. The reasons why the world didn’t embrace it doesn’t matter. What matters is how they see you after they reject it.

Do they forget you entirely because you gave up and vanished? Did you become hostile and lash back at the world ? Careful, there maybe be a remix in the making. Or did you take a moment and review your approach? With a new vigour and determination, you’ll be back, better than ever.

The way we come back from failure, whether epic in proportion, or miniscule at best, is how the world will see and remember us. But failure does not mean we are destined to fail forever. It doesn’t mean that we should give up. It means we need to try again.

Rethink the project or start a new one, but either way, don’t let failure deter you. After all, it was Thomas Edison who said “I haven’t failed. I’ve found 10,000 ways that don’t work.”

And then there was light.