Everyone fails in life, and failure can be a crushing experience. The only thing that separates successful people from the rest is how they respond after they fail.
When facing obstacles, you have to decide if you’re going to let them be the excuse for your failure or if you’re going to make them the story behind your success.
“There is no failure. Only feedback.” -- Robert Allen
When you adopt the right attitude, failure is a great teacher. Failure interrupts your routine and gives you an opportunity to explore new solutions, but only if you have the right attitude.
Psychologist Albert Bandura conducted a study that showed just how great a role our attitudes play in the face of failure. In the study, two groups of people were asked to complete an identical management task. The first group was told that the purpose of the task was to measure their management abilities. The other group was told that the skills required to complete the task were improvable and that the task was merely an opportunity to practice and improve. The trick was that the researchers made the task so difficult that all participants were bound to fail, and fail they did. The first group -- feeling like failures because their skills weren’t up to snuff -- made little or no improvement when they were given opportunities to repeat the task. The second group, however, saw each failure as a learning opportunity, and they performed at progressively higher levels each time they attempted the task. The second group even rated themselves as more confident than the first group.
Just like the participants in Bandura’s study, we can either view our failures as reflections of our abilities or as opportunities for growth. The next time you catch yourself wallowing in the self-pity that often accompanies failure, focus on what you can control: your attitude.
Some of the best lessons in life are also the toughest to accept and to adopt the right attitude toward. These are the lessons that challenge your flexibility and willingness to learn. When we don’t embrace them soon enough, the lessons we learn turn out to be harsh ones.