Failure is not something that people often strive for. When you ask somebody why they’re anxious or stressed out, the fear of failure is usually something that’s playing on their mind. People will often pass up on opportunities for themselves or their business, simply because of the ever-present fear of failing and making a fool out of themselves is there. Read all about why it’s okay to let yourself fail in this article.
And is it any wonder that we’re all so scared to fail? Our society is fueled by the image of perfection. It surrounds us; in our magazines, on our blogs, on social media and more. It can be incredibly difficult to shake the feeling that you’re meant to constantly be achieving perfection in every area of your life.
I’m here today to show you that it’s actually very beneficial to let yourself fail. In this article, we’re going to be having a look at the key reasons why you actively need to let yourself fail. This may seem incredibly counter-intuitive, but there’s actually plenty of reasons why failure can be beneficial for you, your business and your wellbeing overall.
Failure can bring out a new side of you
One of the main things that you will find when you fail on something important is that it brings out new sides of your personality that you might not have known that you have. It’s often the case that when we’re in our lowest points, we learn the most about ourselves and how we deal with certain difficult situations.
From researching this topic, I found that a lot of people found new levels of resilience and inner motivation that they didn’t know they had once they’d made a crucial mistake and labeled it a failure. This is intriguing, and I would suggest that this is especially applicable to workplace-based failures.
If you can turn a negative situation like falling into something positive, it will undoubtedly show you a new element of your personality- in the best way possible. As this great article from Monster says, once your back is against the wall, you can exhibit new skills and abilities that you may have never seen from yourself before.
Failing can strengthen you
Another important reason for failing is that it can strengthen you as a person, and teach you how to become more resilient. Failing itself can be an upsetting experience, but failing when there are other people relying on you can be even more upsetting. This type of experience can be tricky, but it can also teach you how to become much more emotionally resilient. This type of skill is hugely important, both in the workplace and outside of it.
This point also applies to failures in areas like art or music. If you’re a creative person and you’ve created something that your audience doesn’t like, it can feel like an absolute slap in the face. However, it could be an incredibly beneficial learning experience for you. As a creative, you’re going to need to be able to take constructive criticism and negative press on the chin. It takes a lot of time to learn this particular skill and isn’t something that you can just pick up over time. With patience, you’ll get there.
If you’re working in a team, failure can also help strengthen your bonds. Many groups and teams find failure to be something that drives them apart, but with good communication skills and positive reinforcement, you should be able to turn this stereotype around on its head.
It can make you try new things
Another good thing about failing is that it can encourage you to try new things. This can be taken on various different levels. On an extreme level, failure can be a wake-up call that highlights how you’re doing in your current role. Maybe it would be good to look into a completely new path in life, or start studying again? Of course, this is an incredibly extreme example and I’m not suggesting that we all quit our normal day jobs to go on holiday to find our inner selves. I simply mean that it could be beneficial to look into a new path if you really feel that your failure was so irreparable.
On a less dramatic note, failure can encourage higher levels of problem-solving and creative thinking. If you’ve had a failed project or product launch at work, try to take a step back and analyze where you could have changed things. Being able to reflect on your own work and abilities is crucial for success, and failing is one of the best catalysts for encouraging this. Failure can help bring you ‘out of the box’ and explore new ideas, too.
This also applies to the previous example of the creatives, not just office workers. If you’ve had a heavily critiqued piece of work, try going against what you normally do and completely reverse everyone’s expectations of you. If you’re normally known for soft, pastel animal portraits, why not try doing a 90’s grunge-inspired photography lookbook? Doing the opposite of what you’re meant to be doing can produce some very interesting results, especially in the case of artists.
Failing can help you appreciate success even more
On a more emotional note, failure can help you appreciate the positives and successes in your life even more than before. This is especially true in regards to sportspeople and athletes who are competing. After all, there are no rainbows without rain- as cliche as that might sound.
This is true in a number of other respects, too. Failing at the first hurdle can make your journey to redemption and success just that bit more satisfying. Being able to look back on your journey and see the immense effort that you’ve put in is incredibly rewarding, and I’m sure that it would be a great boost to your self-esteem and confidence.
This is also true for group projects and efforts, specifically in the workplace. Whereas failure might cause some issues for groups in the first place, being able to reflect on your successes as a team is wonderful for bringing everybody closer together than before.
Failure can improve your self-analysis and reflection
Something else that you can gain from failing is the ability to analyze yourself and your actions on a deeper level. One thing to note here is that it’s important to do this in a positive manner. Obsessing over what you should have done years ago or beaten yourself up for a mistake won’t change anything or help you. Instead, try to look at your actions in a neutral light, reflect upon what you could have changed and make a plan for the future based off of these points.
One of the best ways that you can do this is to write it down. Journalling is incredibly beneficial for your mental health and self-reflection, but it could be as simple as jotting it down in a notebook. Writing it down allows you to visualize your message, which will help you retain it better. Again, make sure you’re not being overly negative here! Try writing in the third person, to distance yourself from it and allow yourself a neutral perspective.
Failure provides the opportunity to learn
Failure can be a great opportunity to learn and develop your existing skills. This could be taken in quite a literal sense. If you’re reflecting and considering your failures from a neutral perspective, you should be able to identify where you went wrong originally.
Following this, you should be able to put together a plan on what you need to do to improve upon your existing abilities and ensure success the next time around. This could be something simple like readjusting your approach to a problem, or it could be something more complex like taking a class to learn more about a particular niche subject. Whichever route you go down, it should end up providing you with a new outlook on life and some new skills while you’re at it.
On a less literal note, failure can teach you much more about yourself and the environment that you’re in. For example, a big failure at work might cause people to act unnecessarily hostile towards you. This could be a big indicator that you’re not working in a positive and safe environment and that you might need to change what you’re doing for work. If you do end up in a situation like this, try to spend more time listening to what people are saying instead of getting angry, as this will help you make the best decision.
It can help motivate you
The final way that failure can help you instead of hindering you is that it can be a great source of motivation. You can see this with plenty of famous figures in our society nowadays- for example, the story about Albert Einstein not doing well in school.
Failure doesn’t have to be the end of everything, it can, in fact, be the start of something fantastic. The main thing that I would urge you to do here is to work on your neutral perspective on life. What I mean by that is work on your ability to be less reactive and more thoughtful with emotional scenarios. Being able to do this will help you navigate tricky situations and come out of it with more positives than you went in with.
This is where techniques like writing down your thoughts and having a strategy come into play. To motivate yourself, try analyzing your past efforts and taking a neutral look at where things went wrong. Then, put this into action with a defined, easy to follow a plan to help yourself through the next attempt. I’m sure you’ll find this way of working a lot easier and much more satisfying, too.
To sum up, failure is an important part of life. As much as it may seem counterintuitive to let yourself fail, it’s a vital part of learning and evolving as a human being. It’s vital for teaching yourself new things, opening your mind to new concepts and connecting with the world around you more.
So, the next time you’re afraid to try something out and fail- take a deep breath, visualize where you want to be and do it anyway. Worst comes to worst, you don’t succeed and you’ve just got a good learning experience out of it. At least you’ll know that next time you try, you’ve got the tools at your disposal to ensure that you succeed.