The Internet is flooded with articles and blogs that revolve around success. You know the type: All of their titles are a spin off of “___ Habits of Highly Successful People.”
But when did failure, success’s long-lost brother, get lost in this equation?
Failure is something everyone experiences — some at higher rates than others. But when does failure become a habit? When does someone become successful at failure, if you will?
Let’s dive into a few questions in order to understand how success and failure operate hand-in-hand.
What Creates Success?
In order to create success, a person must do a lot of different things, but the most important step is to create a definition. You, yourself and only yourself must define one thing: What do you consider as success? Of course, you’ll probably have different definitions for personal or professional situations. Maybe money or objects are the root of your desire for success, or perhaps relationships and networking mean more. No matter how you define success, there are some common practices you can take to reach it.
If you indulge in the countless articles out there on how to become successful, you’ve probably encountered countless tips, but the main thread running through all success stories is passion. In order to be successful, you have to be passionate about something.
Say you create a product that will save lives, and it reaches record sales, making you a billionaire. When you were first creating the product, you could have been driven by the fact it would save lives or by the fact you thought or knew it would make you insanely wealthy. Regardless of which one you side with, you had passion driving you forward.
Why Do People Fail?
Failure can also be traced back to passion. Explaining why people fail is a little bit more complex. Although there is a wealth of research out there on what it takes to be successful in life, there isn’t much solid information to stand on when it comes to failure.
Essentially, failing at something doesn’t mean you aren’t passionate, but it does mean you allowed something to block you from your passion. Picture an eclipse where you are the earth and your passion is the sun. You’re plugging along, doing quite well and living in full light, until the moon blocks you from your passion, leaving you disoriented and lost in total darkness. Here are a few examples of what could disrupt you and send you plummeting on the road to failure:
- Someone derails your dream by convincing you it’s not worth it
- You lack confidence in yourself
- You dream too much and don’t make it a reality
- You lost your passion along the way
- You make excuses for yourself
These are just a handful of reasons why you could fail. That leads us to our next question.
Can Failure Become a Habit?
The short answer is yes. The long answer is much more complicated. A small percentage of the population loves to fail because it garners them attention. When success is too difficult to gain the recognition they want, they resort to failing at things over and over in order to receive pity and condolences.
On the other hand, failure can become a habit to even a highly motivated person, but it’s not in the manner you think.
Failure can only become a habit for you when you give up entirely.
Yes, you may stumble and fall once, twice, even twenty times, but until you cave and abandon that passion, you haven’t made failure a habit because you’ve dusted yourself off and kept trying. Rising from a failure speaks more volume about your character than any success could.
How Do You Prevent Failure?
The truth hurts, but it must be said: You’ll never be able to 100% rid yourself of failure. The universe is balanced, and yes, sometimes it has to rain on your parade. You do, however, have some forms of control.
Here are a few tips you can use to avoid failure in your life:
- Be 110% engaged in what you’re doing in the present. “In the present” is the most important part of that sentence. Let’s say you are an entrepreneur. You may feel like you have to work 100 hours a week just to keep your business above water, but if you were to study how you spend your time, we can pretty much guarantee you’re not dedicating 110% to those 100 hours. You’re texting, taking personal calls, trying to eat dinner over emails, getting distracted by an article on Facebook. No matter what you are doing, whether you’re calling an old friend or taking your dog for a walk, be 110% fully invested in the moment. Otherwise, your relationships will struggle, and while you may have a successful business in one hand, you’ll hold failed relationships in the other.
- Create a safe circle. When you’re working on your passion, you may be tempted to share it with the world. In reality, that’s the complete opposite of what you should do, especially when it’s in its baby stages. Choose two or three friends very wisely and allow them to be your confidants for feedback and advice. When you involve too many people, there will be cheerleaders and there will be some nasty naysayers — make sure to choose cheerleaders.
- Take action. Sitting around brainstorming is important to any process, but there comes a point where action is needed. Create a plan that is easily divided into measurable steps you can check off by the day or week. Anything more than a week will be too hard to keep track of, so make sure you break your steps down to easily stay on the path to success.
As you set off to achieve your ultimate goal, make sure you have a clear directional plan in mind to get you from point A to point B. And remember: Failure is what you make of it. Don’t make it a habit.
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