When You Fail

Failure is going to happen. There’s no way around it. It’s going to happen to all of us. No one is omnipotent. We don’t have unlimited power.

At a certain moment, we are going to fail at our goals, unless we set them too low. The trick isn’t to never fail. The trick is what to do when we fail.

Failure is not the end of the world. It isn’t something to be celebrated, but it isn’t the end of the world either. The best thing you can do when you fail is to ask yourself the following question.

Why did I/we fail?

Try to find all the reasons and not to repeat the same mistakes again.

Create an environment that is failproof.

For example, if you’re on a diet and you have junk food at home to serve other people, eventually, you’ll end up eating it. So, you better have no junk food at home at all.

Maybe, you need extra measures to avoid failure.

When I have to go to an important meeting, I always check the driving time via Google Maps. I always add some extra time to that default driving time, because I know there will be traffic jams and I know I have to look for a parking spot.

How do I know that?

Years ago, I’ve been late to important meetings twice. That was enough to realize that the default driving time never matched the reality because of traffic jams. And I always had to take into account the search for a free parking spot.

Every failure is an opportunity for improvement.

Every failure points to a flaw in your system or to a lack of system. If you have a system, look at it carefully. Which step or steps in your system caused the failure?

If you can’t pinpoint a specific flawed step, think about which extra measures you can add to your system, so that the same failure doesn’t happen again?

If you don’t have a system at place, how can you set it up? It doesn’t have to be a complicated one, but how can you come up with a few, simple rules that could prevent this failure from happening again?

When the Problem Is Huge.

Maybe, your failure points to a greater problem and you can’t change it overnight. If that is the case, what is your plan to solve that problem? Which steps need to be taken? Over which time frame?

Remember you don’t have to turn around your life overnight. All you have to do is to take one step at a time toward the right direction.

Conclusion

A failure is neither something to be celebrated, nor the end of the world. It’s just an opportunity for improvement. It’s up to you to do your best to use that opportunity, so that you don’t end up in the same situation again.

Burak Bilgin
Software developer with a Ph.D. and 15 years of experience. I write daily on personal development and life lessons. Sign up to my email newsletter to receive a weekly overview of my latest content on personal development and life lessons.