Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Positive Thinking Series - Failure is a Good thing

Over the past few weeks, I’ve shared my Positive Thinking Series.  We’ve looked at how not to feel alone, learning to believe in yourself, and taking things one step at a time.  Last week we talked about how to have a good day, and you can read that post HERE. 

Today I want to talk about failure.  An odd topic to discuss on a motivational site, however, failing is part of life, and it’s how we deal with this aspect that shapes how we cope with future events and situations.

Many of us shy away from even saying the word ‘failure’.  If you are a parent then failing is a taboo subject, even sports day has changed to accommodate all the physical needs of a child to ensure no-one ‘fails’.  I could argue that a bit of healthy competition is good for the soul, but I think that’s a whole post on its own!

So what do I mean when I say failure?  When I got divorced, I felt like a failure.  My parents have been married forever, as were my grandparents and aunts and uncles.  I was the one who had tainted this pristine record.  It didn’t matter at the time that I was leaving a violent relationship, in my head I’d failed.

It took me many years to realise what I had learned from this experience.  Yes, I have a failed marriage under my belt, but I gained so much more.  You could say, I learned how to fail well!

When I took away any judgement, I was able to look at my particular situation with total clarity.  Without failure, I wouldn’t have progressed from the dark days of my married life to the utterly incredible life I’ve made for myself now.  I embrace my failings, and I use the lessons to evolve.

Think about a situation where you felt like you failed.  Maybe it was a project you took part in but didn’t finish, or a weight loss regime you abandoned at the sight of a cream cake.

It’s time to understand that we do stumble, we do fail, but this doesn’t stop us from getting back on track with more knowledge and understanding.  The more we fail, the better we become at dealing with our emotions, and situations.

Allow yourself a moment to sulk!  We are only human after all, and after something has gone wrong, it’s only natural to feel sorry for yourself.  The trick is to keep all moping to a minimum and then pick yourself back up and try again.

In November, I am taking part in my third NaNoWriMo contest, this is a writing competition where I have to write a 50,000 word novel during the 30 days of November.  Over 350,000 people take part worldwide, but only around 15% cross the finish line.  Those writers’ who don’t finish may feel upset or angry, they may be frustrated because they didn’t manage to write every day and fell behind? But, they will all sign up again the following year and give it another go. 

When they return they will have learnt a valuable lesson, this may be to plot out the story they wish to write, or allocate an hour a day dedicated to their NaNo task.  They didn’t fail; they built knowledge that will help them in the future.

Stop thinking about failure as the ‘f’ word, and start to embrace the stumbles in your life.  Sit back and think, ‘what lesson do I need to learn from this?’ 
Don’t beat yourself up over a setback; successful people see this as an opportunity.  Accept any failure with a smile and determination to come back bigger and better than before.


  1. My divorce too meant I have the incredible life I have today.

    1. We all have the ability to find the positive in a negative, I'm so pleased you did this too. Thanks for sharing x

  2. Inspiring post as always Shelley. Picking yourself up, dusting yourself down, and starting all over again and, as you say, seeing what you can learn from this turns 'failure' into success. You are in inspiration to us all so you certainly aren't a failure! Think it's the wonderful Wayne Dyer who said there's no such as thing as failure - just another opportunity, or words to that effect :-) xx

  3. I can't bear it when my children (who are now grown men, by the way) suffer a setback or a disappointment. Nevertheless, I really believe it's important to learn to fail and how to cope with it. Life sucks a lot of the time, so we need the tools to be able to accept this. Sulking take a lot of energy that should be better employed elsewhere.