Stop beating yourself and learn from your mistakes
By Jacob King
We’ve all heard the saying “failure is not an option” in intense action movies or serious situations- but has that saying turned into a reality? The possibility of this being true is scary.
It goes without saying that failing is never the route people choose to go down. Why? Because it feels terrible. We see it in sports players’ faces, students who bomb a test, and even adults who missed an important opportunity. Although failure is a tough pill to swallow, it’s an inevitable one that has to be accepted. But that’s the hardest part about failing- accepting it.
These past couple of weeks have been my test to putting the money where my mouth is and accepting my mistakes. Failure isn’t something fun to tackle with in the first place, but doing it publicly just adds salt to the wound.
Recently, I’ve had to answer for poorly written articles I submitted and why I didn’t do a better job with my writing. Initially, I beat myself up for it, and hard. I immediately reacted in the worst possible way a person could when faced with criticism. I let my failures completely discourage me and keep popping up in my head, but after the sting went away I learned something- it’s fine.
Ekaterina Walter, Forbes writer, said we need failure. It shouldn’t be something to drown in, but instead something to thrive from.
“No great success was ever achieved without failure,” said Walter. “But, whether we like it or not, failure is a necessary stepping stone to achieving our dreams.”
Just as the “failure is not an option” saying is popular, so is “learn from your mistakes.” And that is what it takes to deal with making mistakes.
There is no one that has stepped onto the basketball court and naturally been the best at it. It doesn’t work that way. It takes missing the winning shot, getting screamed at by fans and coaches, and tripping up a couple times to be the LeBron James of the game.
I’ve learned that instead of putting so much emphasis on avoiding the failure (which is impossible to avoid), more focus should be placed on how to improve from it. Failed attempts allow us to take every step closer to getting the right shot.
Now, all this feel-good advice shouldn’t be misleading and taken as failure is not a big deal. It is. Making mistakes comes with a price in almost all situations. It’s a good thing those consequences exist to make us stray from the wrong direction we were going down. The only existing failure is when you settle in it.
“Failure isn’t fatal, but failure to change might be,” said John Wooden, former Indiana State basketball coach.
It can be a trap to sulk in self-pity and remain there. No one ever said change was easy and that’s why it can be simple to accept blame and just walk away. However, accepting blame is important but altering one’s actions is how you get to where you need to be.
“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly,” said Robert F. Kennedy, former New York senator.