5 Lessons From Failure

Wednesday, 16 July 2014 0 comments

Fortunately, meditation, a gratitude practice, spending time with beloved friends and family members, breathing, getting out into nature, exercising, and journaling helped me find the rainbow amongst the storm clouds. These are the five lessons from failure.


1. The only way not to fail is… not to live.

Play it safe. Don’t take risks. Then, you won’t fail.

But wait. Even if you do those things, you’re still bound to fail sometimes. Eventually, you’ll encounter an unfair boss or a mentally unstable friend/partner/acquaintance. Or you’ll simply run up against your own limits as a human being.

So accept the fact that you will fail. And remind yourself that it is our bruises and scars, our crashes and upsets, which make us unique, interesting… even cool.

2. It’s okay to feel bad. For a while.

For a few weeks, I kept waking in the middle of the night, my mind filled with judgmental voices. “You’re a failure.” “You’re a loser.” “What have you done with your life?”

I knew full well that this was my inner critic undermining my self-esteem. But I also knew there was no avoiding it. The only way out is through.

3. Everybody’s too busy stressing on themselves to be stressing on anybody else.

My hip-hop dance teacher Micaya said that to me years ago when people in our class were freaking out about having to perform a short routine for one another. Pure genius.

The point was driven home powerfully by a conversation with a friend not long after my project fell apart. He’s a creative as well, so I presumed he’d point out my failings. Instead, he listened patiently for a while, and then started telling me about his problems.

4. The valleys have as much to offer as the mountain peaks.

When I was co-authoring Bend, Not Break with the inspirational Ping Fu, she told me, “We think of our journey through life as summiting a peak. But in reality, life is a mountain range.

We scale one peak, then look for the next one to conquer. Sometimes, we are forced to descend due to life circumstances, and we feel like failures. Yet it is in the valleys where we build villages and cultivate crops.”

5. Life is long.

We’re used to hearing that life is short. My best friend Jen likes to say, “Life is long.”

Sure, three months of effort gone down the drain might feel like a huge tragedy in the moment. But in the grand scheme of things, it is but a tiny blip on the radar.
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