How to Overcome the Illusion Called Failure

Failure is wrongly defined as the opposite of success. The result is an illusion that holds us back from chasing our dreams.

Our fears come from a misconception of failure. Source Pixabay

A few days ago, my best friend showed me the following tweet:

The same statement could be seen in two ways that are utterly different. It made me think about the importance of the meaning that we give to what we see, hear, and feel.

What we call reality turns out to be our perception of it. That’s why Albert Einstein said:

“Reality is an Illusion, albeit a persistent one.”

Facts don’t matter as much as the way we process them. Put differently, our reality is the image of our experience with the world seen through lenses made of our belief-system.

We surely can’t change facts. However, we can clear our lenses by acting on our beliefs. One of the most blurring stains of our belief-system is considering failure as the opposite of success.

Whenever we undertake a project we consider two possible outcomes: #1 win or #2 lose. The fear of the latter usually deters us from starting. In reality, achieving something is not at all as binary.

Micheal Jordan has been cut from his high school basketball team during his sophomore year. Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper for his lack of imagination and original ideas. Steve Jobs has been removed from the company he started when he was 30 years old.

During an interview held in 1890, Thomas Edison quoted that he constructed thousands of theories related to the electric light. Only two experiments, out of what is known to be a thousand, were conclusive.

The list goes on revealing the same pattern. Despite the difference in their circumstances, all the successful achievers mentioned above had one thing in common: they failed and kept on failing until they succeded.

Success is a pile of failures on which we climb to reach victory. Illustration by Stephan Schmitz procured via Folio Art

Failure is not the opposite of success. It is a step towards it. Obviously, things can work out from the first attempt. Yet, most of the time they won’t. When it happens, you could give up or you could picture each non-conclusive attempt as a step forward that promotes your growth. With each fall comes a lesson that brings you closer to fulfilling your dreams.

  • Failure allows you to identify what you should improve on.
  • Failure allows you to identify what you should stop doing.
  • Failure teaches patience, handling negative emotions, and persistence.

Shifting your perception regarding failure frees you from an overwhelming illusion. It’s the illusion of perceiving failure as a destination. In reality, it’s an inevitable stopover on your way to triumph. It might not seem like it but stumbling around is movement and movement provokes progress.

We all aim for success. However, only a few of us have the guts to move forward while expecting to fail. Truth be told, you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. In Denzel Washington’s words:

“If you are not failing you are not even trying”.

📚 Sources

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Psychology | Business | Marketing — When I’m not reading, I’m writing

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