What they don't tell you about failure.
Failing is a scary word to many of us. We associate it with the ugly or nerdy kid in school that can never get anything right or the guy in the office that always gets on his bosses nerves. But here is the misunderstanding about failing. Failing isn’t a way of living; it’s not a permanent stage in life. When we think of failing as a lifestyle it makes us never want to leave our comfort zone, as long as we’re comfortable we know that nothing that we don’t want to happen will happen. In other words, we create this little safe space for our fears and dignity, we tell ourselves “What will happen if I try this?” in which our brain comes up with 800 reasons why it's a bad idea and all the 'bad’ things that can happen. So, by staying in our bubble of comfort we avoid getting rejected, embarrassed, regretful and the list goes on.
Now, here is a question for you to think about. Would you rather, get laid off as a CEO of a fortune 500 company making 7 figures a year, or keep your 9-5 job that barely pays for rent but never lose the job?
Let’s dissect your two options:
Option 1: You now have no job, your lifestyle is probably very demanding from a financial viewpoint. You have bills to pay with no paycheck, a bit of a problem.
Option 2: You don’t need the headache of dealing with the big issues of the company. You come in every day and serve burgers for some hours and go home and watch TV. You will always have the job and who knows maybe you’ll get a raise one day.
Statistically, we should pick the Burger job. However, a rich minded and ambitious person would pick the (CEO) getting laid off the job. The reason is pretty straightforward; the burger guy does not deal with adversity and failure on a daily basis, which for him is a scary thing.
The CEO has probably been laid off before; he’s seen a couple businesses not work out to his desire, which only makes him a stronger person mentally. He learns from every setback and every NO! With this experience, he has what it takes to use the information that he gained and become greater than he was in his last job. The only reason the CEO became so highly esteemed in the first place was that he was willing and ready to get hit a couple times. He changed his paradigm to think of every outcome in a winning manner.
In every decision in life, there are 3 options if not more you can make. We decide how to understand and think of every situation. For example, when I tore my ACL when I was 19 years old I had 3 options that I could have made based on what happened to me.
1. Give up, never step onto a basketball court again. 2. Be mentally strong and do whatever I can to get back and play the game I love once again. 3. Use the setback as an opportunity to help others and make it part of who I am, which is what I did. I help athletes that go through similar setbacks and help them change their paradigm to become even better players than they were before. Life is all about attitude. You decide how to take the hit. How will you get back up?
We need to look at the word “Failing” as an occurrence, something that happens just like if we burn ourselves or have a bad day. But it hurts! Of course, it does, that’s why our minds hate going through it because it is a nasty feeling. But, just like we have bad days at work or go through a tough day in shooting practice, it comes and goes. We need to see it as a stepping-stone for becoming a better athlete or better person. Setbacks make us who we want to be. If you let it decide who you are, then it will affect you in that way. If you see it as an opportunity to learn from and become better, it will do exactly that.
I always say this and I think it has so much validity to it, “What you do doesn’t define who you are, it's why you do it.” If what you do doesn’t define who you are then what happens to you doesn’t define who you are either. That’s how we need to see the idea of failing. When you "Fail" ask yourself why did I fail not "What do I look like when I fail?” The more you fail the more you’ll succeed.
Mendy Dubov is the Lead Mental Performance & Leadership Coach and is the Executive Director at Yellow Mentality. You can reach him via email: Mendy@YellowMentality.com