Monday, September 2, 2013

How You Handle Failure Determines Your Success

I believe that for each of us, there is at least one major life lesson we must learn, which will keep presenting itself in one form or another, until we learn it. It might be about self-control, healthy boundaries with other people, being willing to share our thoughts and feelings, tackling anxiety positively or giving oneself permission to feel blargh occasionally.

One of the essential lessons I've learned from my life as a writer (and  human being too!) is that how I handle my failures and mistakes has a huge impact upon my later successes. If I crumple at the slightest criticism, take it personally, lash out, blame others, I don't take anything useful away from the experience. Which is why I am always open to comments about my writing work. There is a lot of wisdom out there. I am not the font of it! And generally, I find people to be helpful, thoughtful and kind, so why be afraid of feedback? The equation is simple - I want to succeed, therefore I must learn the lessons to do so.
Sportsmen and women know this lesson well. There is only one winner in an event. The rest must deal with the disappointment of losing or placing second or third. The answer is not, as some people think, to eliminate competition and award everyone prizes for participation. That would completely nullify our achievement, strip us of the drive and courage to push beyond our boundaries. It's just silly. The answer is to teach and learn how to handle failure and disappointment. You cannot eradicate either from human existence. Just as we cannot smile and be happy every single moment of the day, we need to feel the full range of emotions, so too must we accept  failure.

If we can pick ourselves up, learn what went wrong and bravely aim to do better next time, we will find the ecstatic joy of personal achievement, no matter how small the goal.

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