Failure is defined as the state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective. Every success story is replete with instances of failure. It is on the lessons of failure that you receive success. To fail is to have tried. But it is not always easy to fight back a failure as at times failures can be extremely debilitating. In 42 years of career, I have been an entrepreneur for 24 years. What I am today is the sum total of my failures & successes in life. I have gone through extreme upheavals, both personal & professional, but have always fought back successfully. I was a sailor by education & profession and got into executive search with no relevant background or experience,yet built up a very successful business. It wasn’t always easy though, but I can say proudly that I never ever came close to giving up.
Here are some tips how you can do it too. I call it getting “tuned to success”
Years ago, I read a quote which left a very deep impact on me, which is always displayed prominently in my room “Defeat is not when you fall down…it is when you refuse to get up after falling”. This redefined the very concept of failing. Failure for me then was not about non-achievement, but about not attempting back, wiser & stronger with the experience.
“If you look at what you have in life, you’ll always have more.
If you look at what you don’t have in life, you’ll never have enough”. – Oprah Winfrey.
Can anyone underscore the power of positive thinking? Everything that happens to us has a positive side to it; we just fail to look at it. Many a times, I realised the positive aspect of my failures in hindsight. Hence, it’s important to look at failures positively, as learning and experience. To retain positivity in times of failure, focus on what you have rather than what you don’t. Focus on your strengths, because that’s something you have and not on your weaknesses. It’s also extremely important to associate with the right people. In times of failure, one needs encouragement, not sympathy. Seek help or advice if needed, but choose your mentor wisely, someone who has the experience & wisdom, preferably someone who has actually been an achiever.
“Life doesn’t get easier or more forgiving; we get stronger and more resilient.” – Steve Maraboli
Failures can be devastating, mentally, physically & financially. To bounce back after a fall requires mental resilience. To build resilience one needs to control stress, anxiety and fear. Good sleep & regular exercises are must. I have developed a strict regimen of early morning walks & yoga in the evening with a personal trainer. Physical activity helps build brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins, which help to manage stress. Regular vacations & weekend breaks are a great way to build resilience in times of acute adversities as is listening to music, talking to friends, anything that bring peace in mind & soul. Getting inspired is another great way to build resilience. My best inspiration has come from so many real life people around me, seemingly ordinary people, who have been real life heroes and whose struggles have been unsung, but awe inspiring.
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” – Aristotle.
I have found honest introspection a great way to find answers. Take onus of your actions or inaction; do not look for excuses or justifications. The only thing we have control over is ourselves, blaming anything else will take you away from a solution. Heed the lessons of failure. Introspection is the true voice of your soul. It helps you assess where you went wrong, the help you need, how you can do it better or if it is worth doing at all. Find solitude to introspect. I find solutions to most of my problems during my early morning walks or when I lie awake at night, free from all distractions. These answers are rarely ever wrong because the soul or the conscious never lies.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt.
Self-belief or self-confidence is your assessment of your own self-worth. It is the difference between how you see yourself & how you would ideally like to be. The lesser the difference the greater is the self-belief & greater the esteem you hold in yourself. Self belief comes with knowledge-the greater one’s knowledge base the lesser are the unknowns. It comes with being hands-on because it reduces dependence on others. It comes with not comparing yourself with others, for that creates unfair competition within you.
It is of utmost importance in times of failures to have a very high level of self-belief which helps in reducing self-doubt & fear of failure. It helps in identifying opportunities, finding creative solutions, stimulating action and stretching you beyond your comfort zone.
I always advise my people to dream big, work hard & strive to do something remarkable in life. Unfortunately, the road to success is unpaved, non-linear & full of hurdles. Every time you stumble, these lessons will always help you get up & continue with greater vigour. And remember that no dream, no goal is bigger than a man’s determination to achieve it. The one who really failed is the one who didn’t fight back.