The student news site of Mercy High School

Fabulous Failure

November 18, 2019

You’re probably wondering why I titled this article “Fabulous Failure,” when no one wants to fail. Failing means that correction and revision need to be made. Sometimes it’s easy to deal with failure, when you’re practicing a sport two days before the game, and you can’t seem to get the ball in the goal–but you adjust, revise, and boom! An hour before the game starts, every shot you take is a perfect goal. After the game you think fabulous failure right? You think, “had I not recognized my failures and weaknesses I wouldn’t have improved.” In hindsight, failure is a valuable teacher. But what happens when failure seems like the end of the world? You do something to lose your job, or you mess up big time with someone you care about. Suddenly, you can’t take back your words and actions. You can’t “revise” what happened, but you can rewrite the script for the future.

Shame can be a result of failure. When we fall short of our expectations for ourselves, we fixate on what we can do to “fix” what we can’t. Failure’s real purpose is to teach us acceptance, self compassion, and growth. We must accept the past and ourselves, show compassion for our human imperfections, and grow through what we go through by changing our thoughts and behavior. Shame and guilt keep us stuck and don’t allow us to move forward in life.

There is quite the difference between people who have a growth mindset and a fixed mindset when it comes to failure. Even though a fixed mindset person and a growth mindset person may fail an equal amount of times, the way they handle failure is totally different. A fixed mindset person will take failure as a personal attack, often blaming other people and refusing to make necessary corrections. A growth mindset person on the other hand, fails and will also be upset that things didn’t turn out for them the way they wanted them to, but instead they make corrections and are motivated to change and succeed.

Where have you failed recently? Are you holding onto any guilt or shame? Focus on transmuting those feeling into self compassion. Shame erodes the soul and is the very opposite of self compassion. What have you not accepted about past failures, and where do you tend to place the blame? Is the blame placed on yourself or someone else? Where has failure helped you to succeed, and what are your plans for future success? These are just questions to keep in mind. It is important to ask yourself these questions so that you may keep an open mind when it comes to failure.

Are you willing to fail, or are you willful? Willingness to fail is the ability to show up authentically and vulnerably. We are willing to take hits and transform old patterns into success stories. This can be incredibly hard to do and takes courage. Willfulness is quite the opposite. It is the inability to show up, to hide imperfections and to be invulnerable. It is the unwillingness to change or get rid of patterns that are not useful anymore. The willingness to turn failure into growth is one of the most courageous and healthiest things you could ever do for yourself.

Step 1. Accept the past and become willing to change (something). (This is the hardest step).

Step 2. Make corrections.

Step 3. Stick with it, even when your “corrections” aren’t correct.

Step 4. Acknowledge your success by noting that you stuck with the process and were brave enough to be humble when you admitted that you didn’t have all the answers. Place emphasis on the process, as it leads to the positive end result.

Happy growing 🙂

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