“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.” - Denis Waitley
We've all failed at some point in our life (Yep, even me). Sometimes it was something small like trying to beat your brother in a game of horse. Sometimes it was something big like divorce, bankruptcy, getting fired.
Here's the thing...those things really aren't failures. It may be a cliche' but, like most cliche's, it is mostly true. We only fail when we fail to learn from our experiences.
That doesn't mean you shouldn't get angry or frustrated. You should...for maybe five minutes. After that, it's time to figure why we failed and what we can do about it.
And here's the really cool thing...it's exactly the same when we succeed. Celebrate for maybe five minutes. After that it's time to figure out why we succeeded so that we can do it again. As Elizabeth Gilbert explains during the Ted talk below, your brain doesn't do a very good differentiate between the lows of defeat and the highs of victory. They are both deviations from the safe and secure middle ground. And they're both scary.
When you hit one of these extremes, ask yourself these questions:
1. Is this what I intended/expected?
2. How did I get here?
3. What could I have done differently?
4. How do I move on?
5. How do I remember #3?
Learning from failure AND success is one of our greatest gifts. Hiding from either or both is one of the biggest tragedies.