How to make Failure your best Friend

How to make Failure your best Friend By Petra on 08/03/2016 1699 everyday enlightenment, mindfulness

Failure is often seen as the opposite of success. In the western world success is believed to be everything. But from Buddha’s perspective failing has a lot of plus sides:

- It teaches you to stay humble
- It teaches compassion
- It helps practice beginners mind
- It supports staying in the present

Why is it that Failure is so difficult?

You may not realize it, but you are conditioned to fear failure. When you are young you learn through trial and error. You learn by watching others.

Somewhere in your school years competition became important and all of a sudden error became a four-letter-word. You started telling yourself that a mistake equals ‘stupid’.

When you did not meet your own or someone else’s expectations, you felt frustrated and started doubting yourself. You told yourself: “Never again! I will only do what comes easy to me.”

This conditioning teaches that Failure is the opposite of Success. So when somewhere in your personal or business life things are not working out as you want, you feel like a Failure.

How you can learn to embrace failing

While it may not be the most pleasant of sensations in the beginning, failing at something does not have to mean it’s the end of the road. Buddha teaches that as long as we are in the world we are forever changing. We are never complete.

So, the first step is to stop defining yourself as a Failure. Do not define yourself with a noun. Describe what is happening with a verb and you’ll see that immediately you will feel space. Failure is set in stone. Failing can change into something else.

When you start seeing failing as part of a process instead of an end, take the following actions to where you want to be:

1. Failing is feedback

Failing is only temporary. It is essential in the learning process. Don’t be tempted to set the bar so high that you’ll never reach it. Define small steps when you want to really get good at something.

Failing is sometimes a necessary struggle in the process called Life. When life is not happening the way you want it to be, e.g. you lose a job, your business is floundering, your love life is barren, what is that process telling you? Are you doing the right things for You? 

2. Take one step at a time

A feeling of Failure often happens when you try to do too much, when you’re overwhelmed with options or things that you want to do. For example, setting up a new business asks for a lot of things that need to be done. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. If you want to tackle everything at once, you’ll experience self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy. Try not to get ahead of your self. 

3. Ask for help

We all need help at some point to learn. Be prepared to be a beginner, start over and ask for someone who is more advanced to help you. Take action to get out of the situation, get help with making things simple or delegate/outsource some of the things you are really not good at. You don’t have to do it alone.

4. Face your fears

Fear of failing is often hidden perfectionism. There’s nothing wrong with that, just keep in mind that it is actually practice that makes perfect.

Stop being afraid you do not do it right the first time, practice and celebrate small results. Stop trying to please everybody. You are not a Failure when you say No to set healthy boundaries. Stop second-guessing or over-analyzing. When you get offered a job or business opportunity that is a big step up and you feel fear and doubt creep in, say Yes. Better to try and fail than not try at all.

5. Stay in the moment

Feelings of failure happen when we dream about a future and want to rush towards it, or when we are reminded of failures in the past. Stay in the now and concentrate on what is going well right now to increase your confidence and feelings of trust and calmness. You are where you are and it’s ok.

Failing has become my best friend in the process of awakening. It teaches me when I am out of the present and am reacting from a conditioned past. I hope it will do the same for you.

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