The purpose of failure is to motivate you to do something different to make your dream happen. After you fail, there are four steps to take to turn failure into success.
Step 1: Find the Lesson
Venture capitalist Manny says, “I will not invest in a business unless the people heading the company have failed at least once.” Many venture capitalists agree with Manny. Why is that? Why would an investor purposely invest in people that have failed? The reason is rooted soundly in Psychology. Failure teaches us lessons that success never can. Failure teaches us humility and character, both of which are highly valued and rewarded by both society and business.
Although society romanticizes failure as the whimsical, hard-earned path to success, it is the lessons it teaches you at the moment it happens that are important and useable. At that harsh moment when you realize that failure is inevitable, it is a brutal millisecond of self-confrontation.
Failure causes you to question your self-worth, efforts, and even the value of your life. The dark days that follow failure is the most authentic form of you. Failure can teach empathy for fellow man. It can teach thoughtfulness for those less fortunate and promotes tolerance and acceptance. All of those qualities are essential to personal and business success, and you earn with failure.
It is paramount to accept failure with humility, to embrace it for the lessons it teaches you (albeit costly, not so glamorous, and even humiliating), and the future it paves for you. Failure causes you to reevaluate what you did, both wrong and right, and learn from it. Failure moves you forward and one step closer to your dream.
Step 2: Crush Mediocracy
When we fail it means that we have taken a risk. We have risked failure to strive for something big and came up a little short. When you fail you went big versus settling for mediocrity, and that is the key to success.
Dreams motivate us to think big and push ourselves beyond the status quo and into something better. If you set a mediocre goal to avoid failure it will always lead to mediocracy. Playing it safe is far less revealing and easier than setting a lofty goal, putting yourself and your dream out there, and risking ridicule and failure. However, playing it safe won’t yield your dream. You have to risk failure to avoid mediocrity. But the good news is that failure at a big goal increases your chances of success more than success with moderate goals. The bottom line is that mediocre goals will not lead you to greatness. Mediocrity will always yield being stuck in the middle.
Step 3: Vow to Be Brave
“Be brave. Take risks. Nothing can substitute experience.”
– Paulo Coelho
To step into your dream life requires that you be brave. Bravery is a learned skill, not a trait. Bravery develops over time when we take risks, fail, and later achieve. In evolutionary psychology, courage is defined not as the absence of fear, but the fact that there is something more important motivating you to take action in spite of fear. You have to look at your dream that way.
Your dream has to be so powerful that you dismiss your fears of revealing yourself and being ridiculed and embarrassed if you fail. When you think about your dream it must drive you to be courageous. If it does not, then it is not your dream. Your commitment to that dream must be greater than your fears and desire to shield yourself. Your dream and your commitment to it will move you to be brave and find success.
Step 4: Redefine Your Dream
Dreams are lofty. They are big goals that are hard to achieve, and they require that we put the time in to achieve them. Realizing a dream is time filled with the agony of trial and error and even failure along the way. Whether you are prepared or not, whether or not you put in the hours, or if you are committed beyond reason doesn’t matter sometimes.
Failure happens. It is a huge part of success. And if failure equals motivation it equally means redefining your goal as necessary as you learn along the way.