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Failure: The Real Key to Success

In our picture-perfect social media world that features air-brushed faces and heavily-edited photographs, it’s difficult to believe any of the people you see or read about have ever felt like failures. Yet, Olympic athletes, scientists, celebrities, visionary genius, and financial gurus all have one thing in common – failure.

The fact that failure is so important to one’s overall success should make it a hot topic for your children, family, and friends, but just the opposite seems to happen. For the most part, people keep their failures to themselves or their therapist, and many feel embarrassed or unworthy when they fail. However, to completely avoid failure is impossible. Since everyone fails, it’s important to experience the lessons learned so you can move forward with more insight and understanding.

Five Lessons Learned from Failing:

  1. Resilience. If you don’t learn anything else, you must learn how to get back up again and move forward after failing. If you’re a parent, allow you child time to work things out and get back up on their own two feet.

  2. Reflect on what needs work. Social media and movies make it look easy to become whatever you want. However, it’s the practice and failures that shaped the successful person’s skills and knowledge.

  3. Persistence. Success doesn’t happen overnight. Small failures help shape your perspective and narrow your focus.

  4. Failure creates healthy humbling. Whether it’s a failed marriage or getting fired from a job, there will be a feeling of hitting rock bottom. Rock bottom only lasts if we stay there in our thinking. Failure helps you refocus; rather than trying to impress others, redirect your focus to survival and improving.

  5. Failure teaches self-respect and forgiveness. You can’t be a perfect parent, employee, friend, and spouse every day of your life. Instead of wallowing in your failures, learn to forgive yourself and others because we all fail at some point.

When I gather with friends or family and the conversation opens to what we’re doing with our life, it’s the talk about what’s going wrong that elicits the liveliest conversation. It’s also the most funny and meaningful part of the evening. When parents are terrified of letting their kids fail or worried about what school their child will go to, remember it’s our failures that connect us to each other. You may admire one’s achievements, but if you listen to their failures, you’ll feel a sense of respect, compassion, and admiration that their success alone could not have impressed upon you. Allow failure to be part of your life learning. Get up and carry on your path toward success.

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