“But you, be strong and do not lose courage for there is a reward for your work.” -New American Standard Bible, 2nd Chronicles 15:7
“Never give up. Today is hard, tomorrow will be worse but the day after tomorrow will be sunshine.” –Jack Ma
I had done everything I could. I had tried courage but it was misinterpreted as arrogance. I then tried hard work, but my experience was not enough. Somehow everything I tried was just that….never enough. Finally, I realized their perception of me was skewed and nothing I could do would change that. I had to accept what was to follow. Their grim faces as I entered the office said it all. I barely heard what they were saying. The feeling of dejection pumped its way to every corner of my mind.
After one gruesome year of endless work frustration, I was laid off. It is then that I started to look into the concept of failure and what exactly it meant to fail.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, failure is defined as a lack of success. Failure, therefore, is an inherent factor of what the concept of success actually means.
When one has the wrong understanding of what success is, consequently, their view of what is failure is, is also wrong.
The reasons why my failing in the corporate world could not be termed as actual failure is because:
1. Failing is not final
One of the most important lessons I learned about failing is the need to define the process in my own terms. I now know that I am accountable for myself to myself. I create my own destiny through the decisions I make.
Many stories about failing that finally led to success, grace history today, which proves that failing is common to everyone. One of the most famous stories of success that resulted from a process of failing is the story of Thomas Edison who failed more than six thousand times before inventing the light bulb. Another inspiring story is that of Bill Gates, who started a company that turned out to be disastrous before starting Microsoft.
Learning from failure and channeling the right attitude towards trying again is not very common which is baffling since most successful people today confess that success to them is a result of failing multiple times.
I now know that there is no shame in failure especially if it is well-meant and is experienced along the path of success.
Further, I have come to learn the essence of listening to opinions and respecting people’s attitudes towards me, but still, considering the fact that opinions barely have any bearing at all is essential. Some employers judge millennials through stereotyping and misconstrued perception but this should not stop me from excelling.
2. The experience left me still trying
“When you do not try, you can never fail. It takes backbone for someone to pursue their dreams.” –Richard Yates
When I was laid off, I did not stop at that point. I went ahead to look for more suitable opportunities that I was passionate about.
Unless you are a super optimistic person, failing can be a source of frustration and stress. You know…that voice in your head that constantly reminds you that you are headed nowhere. This feeling can derail your progress through causing hesitation and apprehension which makes one lose focus. The trick, in this case, is to keep trying through viewing failing as a mechanism for attaining success but not as the finish line.
3. I was redirected to a different path
When you learn from failing and continue to take calculated risks, you gain much-needed experience. As I coped with failure, I learned skills that enable me to this day to derive the best in life. Failure served as an important disruption in my life then.
Living in a world where everyone is so fixated on themselves and all processes seem to be rushed, failure serves as an important detour. It equipped me with an ability to reflect on where my path was leading to, helped me to focus on what is most important and gave me the determination to achieve even greater goals.
Ultimately, I discovered that I barely had any passion for my career then. This prompted a relentless search for what I was passionate about and led me to the world of writing. That which was meant to be the end point served as the starting point of a new experience.
4. I took away valuable life lessons
Learning from failure is not the most obvious action many people make.
Some of the most common but wrong results of failing are diverting blame and having a victim mentality as well as absolute discouragement.
Concealed in the depths of failing, however, is the opportunity to learn important life skills. Such skills include problem-solving, assertiveness and self-awareness.
Walt Disney, an iconic figure in the world of animations and film production was fired for “lack of imagination and good ideas” as put by his editor from the Kansas City Star in 1919. He then acquired a studio which then fell into bankruptcy. This did not stop him from later becoming a success in the film industry.
The most important life lesson I took away during my period of struggle is that failing is never final. We are the authors of our own destinies.
Above all, the whole experience I encountered about failing taught me that success is both attainable and reachable, though it may require courage, determination and a fighting spirit. Many have gone before us who have lived out their dreams within environments of incredible adversity. We can draw inspiration from them that through failure, despite its magnitude, it is very much possible to succeed. Decide today to redefine your understanding of success, to ignore the constant voices in the world today that want you to be ashamed of failing, to reflect and learn, and finally, to stay true to yourself through your pursuit of giving to this world what only you can.