A Failure Is a Success in Disguise

Your failures, both professional and personal, are only failures because that’s what you call them. A simple shift in thinking allows you to view failures as a lesson learned or proof that you took a risk. If you are able to view failures in a positive light, you can use them to achieve greater success in the future.

Edith Wharton once said, “Life is either a feather bed or a tightrope. Give me the tightrope.” Sure, a comfortable life is, well, comfortable. But do you really want to spend your life metaphorically lazing around in bed? An exciting life and one that moves ever forward is one that involves risk. And if you’re taking risks, you’re sure to become acquainted with failure. Don’t try to avoid it. Embrace it.

Plenty of entrepreneurs have said that failure is a far better teacher than success. It teaches you what doesn’t work so you never have to try it again. And once you have gone through a failed experiment, instead of shamefully hiding it, share it with others so they can avoid your mistakes. There’s even an online publication, Failure, dedicated to just that.

Entrepreneur magazine published an article last month titled, “How Your Failures Can Help You Succeed.” In it, successful entrepreneurs, inventors, and artists discuss the risks they took, their failures, the way they learned to reframe those failures, and how they learned to fail smart so that they found success in the end. It’s an interesting discussion of different ways to approach an experience we’ve all had.

If you ever find yourself in an emotional pit after what seems a terrible personal or professional failure, think about what you can gain from your experience and be proud of yourself for taking a risk by choosing the tightrope. And promise yourself you’ll choose it again.

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