What is Failure?

How do you define “Failure?”

Often we judge failure wrongly.

How do you judge failure? Our definition of failure begins with our definition of success.

So, how do you define success?  Yesterday these questions echoed through my mind. A cacophony of arguments ensued.

 Success is achieving a goal. Failure is the opposite, obviously!

Defeat is difficult and often Defeat wants to bring its tagalong friend – Despair.

Despair brings his friends: Hopelessness and Bleakness.

It’s a downward spiral much like the beginnings of an avalanche.
When Despair shows up in the midst of our lives we need to act fast. The avalanche is inevitable if we open the door to our minds and let Despair come in..

So what is failure… a mistake?  How big of a mistake?

A really big mistake? Maybe hurting a loved one’s feelings…
OR… A small mistake? I dropped the mayonnaise jar and it broke on the kitchen floor…

Is failure an altering of our plans? If I set a goal and fail to achieve it have I failed?
Is success simply achieving my goals? I’d naturally think it is.
Realistically though I am going to hurt someone’s feelings by my actions. I am going to fumble and drop a jar and have it paint my kitchen floor with yuck. It is impossible to achieve complete “success” by never making mistakes. Mistakes are part of life.

Recall a baby you know or knew. As they grew, they stumbled learning to walk and broke things that they should have never touched. Children often say hurtful things.  And then they learn not to.

Perhaps there’s more to success than simply completing a task as defined by our simple minds. Perhaps success is learning from mistakes and applying them so that our goals are not only achieved but redefined by our newly gained knowledge. Perhaps real success is allowing ourselves to take risks beyond our comfort zone and glean from the results.

Learning from mistakes and applying that insight is true success.

Actually – Failure is giving up.

Often we want to give up when we are unsuccessful in achieving our preset goals as we’ve determine. But our ways and plans are not always ideal. Our minds are quite simple and limited and there is much room to grow.

 Fighting the feeling of failure can be a battle worthy of the mightiest warrior. Start by defining success.

A good definition of success is: Overcoming obstacles to achieve a goal.

Success is a step by step process not a milestone or landmark.

Think about that….



2 thoughts on “What is Failure?

  1. It is eye-opening to look at an old way of thinking through a new lens and to see something completely different! I think as human beings we have the tendancy to be the hardest on ourselves, by not recognizing the work each baby step may take in order to make a difference or to make an improvement in oneself. It is more exciting to look at the big picture verses the pieces that make up the entire picture! Thank you for broadening my perspective!

    • True! It takes practice to change our “definitions” and looking at the steps as simply part of the process of achieving a higher goal. I tend to like the big picture and sometimes confuse the two. Thanks for your thoughts!

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