Friday, June 26, 2009

What We Learn From Failure

I fail.  I misstep. I falter.  I bungle.  I flop.  Sometimes I even just downright screw up.  And it kills me inside when I do.  I am a huge advocate of personal responsibility and therefore, tend to hold myself up to a fairly high standard.  So when I fail, the pain settles deep in the pit of my stomach right below my ribcage where it hides, insidiously, lurking as a reminder that I cannot always bring success into what I believe.  Sometimes, I do fail.

The other day my father and I were talking about failure.  He reminded me that it is not the successes which we learn from in life, but the failures.  These words, coming from a man who has experienced many bouts of failure in his own life only to keep trying and trying and trying again, ring loudly as an ultimate truth.  My father never gives up.  He just brushes himself off, and tries things in a different way, filing his mistakes while moving forward.  In truth, for someone who has failed in about a hundred thousand different ways, my father is a success.  And that is part of the reason that I believe him when he says that we learn only from failure.  Another huge part of the reason that I know what he says is true, is because the very small circle of people who surround me, allow me the space that I need in order to learn from my failures.  They do not turn their backs on me.  They do not try to cause me greater pain.  They love me in spite of my failures.  My husband, a man of great integrity and humility, is my greatest supporter and my closest ally.  He is part of the reason that I can allow myself the room to fail, while searching for the successes.  He allows me to feel safe.

Although I do fail, flounder and flop, I try not to give myself too much time to dwell in the negative aspects of failure.  There is very little value in self-flagellation.  The only true merit in failure comes from trying to understand what might have gone wrong and trying your best to repair it.  Therein lies the possibility of success.  To achieve a favorable outcome, one must accept that there will be failures, but with those failures come the valuable lessons.

May you always find room, in life, for both your successes and your failures.  May you always find the lessons in both.  And may you surround yourself with people who will allow you to stumble, but who will then help you back up when you fall.


Adventures In China said...

Hi Debra, what a wonderful message. Something I really needed to hear these days. I know we all have our own set of challenges, and therefore our set of 'failures,' but the feelings that result are often the same, I believe.

I've been struggling to learn Chinese and feeling like a failure. I've been struggling to get over a relationship that didn't go the way I anticipated, and made me feel like a failure. But the surest way to fail? Stop trying. I know this in my heart, but it is so nice to read someone else's more eloquent thoughts on the matter

Thank you!

Debbie said...

The failures are just so hard to accept and learn from. At least in the moment.

WV LeAnn said...

Debra, I loved this and it's so true! We all do need to accept our failures and surround ourselves with people who will forgive, forget, and help us move on. I have learned and continue to learn from many of my failures and thank I thank God for my mother and father who always help me get back up, wipe myself off, and move on. Also, I love the picture of you and your husband and so enjoy your inspirational writings.

Sunshine said...

Deb,beautiful post.. I think failiure person is more successful person in the life because it gives opportunities to learn, to grow, to see, and do much better in life. If you get success quickly, you will fall quickly as well. As you go slowly, you get much better result in life. In my opinion, failure person in life is the successful person in life because truly worked hard to get a success and know the value of it.


Ness said...

Wonderful post. I have a phenomenal husband who is there when I screw up and there to give me room to do it and put the pieces back together when I fall apart because I screwed up. Great life lessons you wrote about. Hugs to you dear friend.

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

My failures have always hurt but I've always learned something from them.

And yes, I'm very lucky to have people around me that support me during good times and bad. Which I do in turn for them. Especially John as he seems to need my support a lot!! :) (He's a medical failure!)


jojo said...

beautiful post Deb...

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