UPLift Challenge – Antidotes to Adversity – Day Thirty: Redefining Failure

Day Thirty: Redefining Failure

The path to moments of greatness in your life will be paved, in part, with your spectacular failures. —Leslie Odom, Jr.

Adversity can involve failures of many kinds. Sometimes it comes because we took a risk and weren’t able to bring our dream to fruition. Now, not only is our dream dead, but we have financial problems associated with our having tried to live it. Sometimes it comes from a series of small, seemingly inconsequential failures: failure to pay our bills on time, failure to budget, monitor, and control our spending, failure to plan ahead, failure to save or invest, the list goes on and on.

We tend to see failure as the worst thing that could befall us. We see it as some kind of statement about our inherent worth, our competence, our standing in the world. And we do this to ourselves as if we are the only ones who have ever failed. As if failure isn’t a key component of all human endeavors.

The truth is, everybody fails. If you aren’t failing, it’s because you aren’t trying to accomplish anything. So if you’ve failed? Pat yourself on the back. It means you’re actively living your life.

Resilience means seeing failure as an opportunity to learn, to change, to refine, and to do better next time. Some of our most beloved historical and cultural figures failed many times in their pursuit of their goals. Google “famous failures.” You might be pleasantly surprised to find yourself in such good company.

What aspects of your current hardship do you attribute to personal failures? What can you learn from those failures? What could you do differently in the future? What would happen if you thought of failure as a gift full of useful information to help you build life skills? How would your approach to your circumstance change? Is there a “famous failure” you might take as a role model for inspiration?

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