"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work."
Thomas A. Edison

I’ve failed a lot at many things before in my life. I’ve failed in jobs, relationships, businesses, sports and yet only a few times have I considered myself as a failure. Not anymore. While growing up and working in various settings, I kept hearing people say they don’t want to fail because they don’t want to be seen as a failure. Yet those same people could recite how many times Thomas Edison failed until he created the light bulb and how many times others have failed before becoming a success. History is littered with people who have failed failed more times than you and I can count, who are happily continuing in their work. Those people continue happily since feeling like a failure has nothing to do with failing.

There are many other people who have achieved many things in life who go to work feeling like a failure or even a fraud. It is hard to tell who feels authentically confident with what they are doing and who does not. How we view ourselves daily is part of the story or narrative we have adapted for ourselves. One thing that is certain, by definition failure is an act or instance of failing. It is more of an event when an objective has not been met.

Feelings is an emotional state or a reaction, as in the feeling love or hate. Feelings is also a belief that we have which can be seen as vague or irrational, such as suspicion. Feelings is something that we tell ourselves based on perceived evidence. Thus, feeling as a failure is a story we tell ourselves based on our reaction to a set of events like failing. For instance, after I closed down my festival Get Reel years ago, I felt like a failure. Even though I had consistent funding, I didn’t feel as if I made a real connection or impact with people. Interestingly enough, it was the process of creating Get Reel and the lessons I learned from the experience helped me to get high paying sales jobs over the next few years and allowed me to become a manager for a youth Arts organization. When I worked for the organization, I always drew upon my past failure to create dynamic programs. It is the same lessons that drives me to do everything I have done to date! Drawing from what I thought was the biggest mishap in my life is what taught me how to separate the feeling of being a failure from the act of failing. Learning how to fail is helping me to succeed in life!

When our esteem is low, we see every event as something that defines us. Losing often makes us a loser or bad things happening makes us unlucky. Events in life happens to make us aware of situations or is a foreshadow for other things to come. When we don’t pay attention, those events manifests itself in different forms until we learn our lesson and then move on. These events aren’t meant to define us, they are meant to inform us. Failing does not make you a failure, it is a lesson that is informing you to try a different approach because this one doesn’t work. This was the same lesson Thomas Edison had to learn. We should keep trying different things until we find the right element that works.

A good baseball player bats .300. This means that for every 10 at bats, the player is successful 3 out of 10 times or fails 7 out of 10 times. Which do you think earns the player $20m per year, missing 7 times or being successful 3 times out of 10. Michael Jordan who is arguably the greatest basketball player ever had a field goal percentage of 49.7%. This means Michael missed half the shots he took! He failed more times than he succeeded. Yet no one, including Michael himself, sees him as a failure.

If you want to have a feeling, you will and you will own it. If you allow events to define you then your emotional state is contingent on such events. Succeeding is not the answer to feeling like a failure for it is also determined by an event. The best solution is to love yourself whether you win or lose in life, whether you are rich or poor or any other circumstance. By developing a healthy sense of self, events are seen by you as things that happen and not as defining moments. You create your narrative which is the story you tell the outside world. Choose your narrative!. What you choose is what you will become and how the world will see you. For what you believe in your inner world will become reflected in your outer world.

“You make mistakes. Mistakes don't make you.”
Maxwell Maltz

It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.
J. K. Rowling

Author's Bio: 

Lennox J. Cadore

Personal trainer, fitness instructor, nutritionist, life coach and creator of the 8 week course Create Your Ideal Life!

Do you need help implementing information that can transform your own life? I can help you attain your goals and visions. If you have any questions on self-care, designing the proper exercise or meal plans to suit your needs email me: lennox@lennoxcadore.com and together we can create a healthier you!