Oh, I am such a failure. I’m useless. Why did I even start this?
Sound familiar? If that’s how you talk to yourself when things start heading south, then maybe, just maybe, you haven’t learned the art of brilliant failure.
To help you – here are five useful things to ask the next time you think you’ve failed:
1 – Have I really failed?
People who believe they’ve failed often think, “if this happens then I have succeeded. If anything else happens, I have failed.”
This binary thinking means people too much meaning on one event. The reality is that life’s events are learning experiences and there countless ways things might fall out that actually, could be positives, even though they’re not precisely what you wanted.
It’s true you might not win the heart of the person you love. But if it was such of a struggle to win them over, are you sure they were the right person? In business, you’ll be amazed at how many opportunities arise when you stop focusing on the one event that didn’t go your way.
In almost every case, the answer to the question have I really failed, is: “Not yet. I’ve just learned another thing not to do!”
2 – What do I need to learn to move on?
Most setbacks carry a lesson inside them. Be careful what lesson you choose to learn. If you internalise the belief that this “failure” just proves you’re a loser, you are preparing to fail again and again, because you’re telling yourself what you do doesn’t matter, because you are the problem…
Analyse. Understand what was missing from your understanding before. What will you do differently next time?
3. How do I put this behind me?
Once you’ve taken the juicy learnings out of your so-called failure, then file it away or throw it in the bin. You don’t need to keep reliving the scenes of your greatest disasters. You can do that with your next triumph instead. Some people write down their experience then throw it in the bin, others refocus their thoughts and shrink the useless memory down in their minds to make room for the next step. Others just get on with the next job. How will you do it?
4. How can I turn where I am now to my advantage?
There are many great stories about people turning problems into success. J K Rowling was a divorced lone parent looking after her newborn. She used her time alone to write her first Harry Potter novel. So, ask yourself: how can you turn life’s lemons in to a gigantic, ethical, billion pound lemonade factory?
5. What’s next?
Shake off the negative and look out for your next project. Is it, like Thomas Edison’s famous thousand attempts to perfect the lightbulb, going to be a continuation of the current project? Or are you going to start something completely new? Harrison Ford gave up going to auditions and started making furniture. When he was asked to make a new door at the studios where George Lucas was auditioning for Han Solo, that complete change became, literally, his doorway to success.
Remember, in life, love and work, maintaining an attitude that sees setbacks as part of an ongoing process, is creative in dealing with problems and is willing to learn and get quickly focused on to the next project – that is the key to being brilliant at failing – or failing brilliantly.