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Myths About Failure – It Is Real & Here Is How To Conquer It!

failure; failed; no such thing as failure, only feedback; failure is a concept; never give up; overcome failure;

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to like to debunk the myths about failure that redefine failure or deny that there is such a thing as a failure, and I would like to reveal how to deal with and conquer failure.

First a quick update:  

The Breakup Test
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You Can Do It! You Have The Psychological Capital Within You!
Are you struggling to deal with the extreme changes? Are you doubting yourself? Watch the video to learn how to tap into the 4 resources you already possess – Psychological Capital.

Now, let’s talk about the truth as I debunk the myths about failure that redefine failure or deny that there is such a thing as a failure, and I would like to reveal how to deal with and conquer failure.

The dictionary defines failure as an absence or lack of success.

And yet, people in personal development and even some business executives create myths around failure by trying to redefine failure or worse, state there is no such thing as failure.

As I will explain, these myths about failure are absurd attempts to make sure that no one is offended, no one’s feelings are hurt, and that everyone feels good about themselves, regardless of reality, and it only robs people of their individual power and ability to accept responsibility and bounce back from failure.

3 Myths About Failure
1. Danielle Cheesman writes: “failure is a concept in that it’s constructed for and by each of us.”

2. Therapist and personal consultant, Carley Sime, writes failure is “The state of living and working in a way that isn’t aligned with our values.” 

3. NLP claims ‘There is no such thing as failure, only feedback.’

These are meaningless poetic myths about failure that actually do fail in their attempt to empower people to become the best version of themselves. Failure is real, for it is you who sets the goals and objectives in life, and when you don’t succeed in achieving your objectives, you failed!

But that does not make you a failure. You are not the failure.

Failure is real and what truly matters and what creates the positive difference in your life is the way you choose to respond to failure, and that is not by denying that it exists or denying that you failed.

Beware of absolutes
The above-mentioned three premises or myths of failure are illogical and inaccurate because they are presented as absolutes.

Failure can be divided into two categories:

1. There are mistakes (failures) that we make as we practice mastering a skill, learning something new, preparing or training for an event or competition or trying to resolve a problem. Thomas Edison tried around 1,000 times before inventing the light bulb. He correctly argued he was getting closer to the invention.
2. There is failure when you do not attain the major goals and objectives you set or when something is completely irredeemable or irreversible.

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall.”

Failure is real and denying failure removes people of responsibility
I often hear women complain about immature men; I teach that immaturity is lack of responsibility. When you chose to redefine failure as non-existent, a concept, or as not living in alignment with one’s values, you are removing a person of all individual responsibility and ownership.

‘You failed to be loyal and faithful to me and our marriage!’
“No, honey, failure is just a concept you constructed.” 

‘You failed to make the payment, and they repossessed our car!’
“No, honey, failure is just…” 

You cannot escape the reality of life: there are and will always be failures: You are human, and you will fail to achieve certain things in life. There will be things at which you will not succeed. There will be failures due to your own mistakes and due to things beyond your control. You will not get everything you want, nor at exactly the very moment you want.

There can only be one US President every four years, there can only be one winning Super Bowl team every year; there can only be a specific number of acceptances at each college or in each sports team; there can only be one guy or girl to take that special person to the prom; there can only be one person for that promotion, and so forth. 

The people who try to redefine failure are trying to create equal outcomes for everyone, even for the people who lost, failed, or missed out.

“Great success is built on failure, frustration, even catastrophe.”
Sumner Redstone

Do you tell the losing Superbowl team, ‘No, you didn’t fail’? After all, ‘failure is a concept’, or ‘You didn’t fail; you just didn’t live according to your values…You are a winner just like the team that got the trophy’?

Denying failure is delusional and self-destructive. It is particularly harmful to teach such absurd myths to children and youth who will not know how to capably deal with the failures in life that will befall them.

The losing team may have done everything according to their values, but they lost because they simply were not more skilled than the winning team or they just didn’t play as well on the day. That same principle applies to many areas of life.

Failure is real – Irreversible Failures
The drunken driver failed to control his car and hit an innocent pedestrian; the doctor failed in his attempt to save that pedestrian. These are not ‘concepts’, ‘feedback’ or ‘lack of alignment with values’ – they are the truth and reality. Of course, both the drunken driver and the doctor can perhaps learn from this experience, but they still failed this time – and in this case the failure is irredeemable – the pedestrian is dead. And yes, many times, failure is painful. There is loss, disappointment, hurt, sorrow, grief, frustration, and anger. You cannot run away or deny these emotions. You can, though, learn to effectively respond to them. 

The longer you live, the more you realize that no matter how you play with words and meanings, failure does exist; it occurs, will occur and you cannot avoid it, no matter how many backup plans or ‘fail-safe’ measures you take. There will be relationships that end, businesses that go bankrupt; there will be illness and there will be disease; there will be accidents, and there will be death.

The power you possess is to learn how to capably respond to failure.

The secret to becoming empowered in the face of failure is to accept that it occurred but you are not defined by the failure.

Dissolving the myths of failure
Remember, again, that there are different forms and different levels of failure! You are not the failure or mistake; your entire life is not a failure. You can learn from it and grow. You might never get another chance at that one thing you wanted, and it will be up to you to accept that you failed, and to find new meaning and new purpose in other goals and pursuits.

In some areas of life, you will fail this time, but it will be up to you to be courageous, resilient, and to persevere until you succeed. It will be up to you to accept responsibility for your part that contributed to or caused the end result.

Finally, you cannot deny or run from life; you can simply develop skills to best deal with it, with hope, optimism, resiliency, and self-efficacy (known as Psychological Capital.) Yes, it is you who chooses whether you will be defeated and quit or whether you will bounce back with renewed optimism.

If you would like help professional help to deal with disappointments, setbacks, and failure or to heal the past and resolve your issues, book a one-on-one session with me.

You can add to the conversation below.

I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.

Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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