So you think you are a failure, huh? Let me get one thing off of my virtual chest right now: You’re not. I realize you may be experiencing failure. You may have had a string of failures. You may have been told you are a failure. But it doesn’t mean that is who you are. You are not a failure, except for one caveat. You are a failure if that is who you decided to be.
But before I prove you are not a failure, I want to share a personal story. Oh, and by the way, when I said “my virtual chest” I didn’t say that because you are reading my blog post. I say it because my muscle definition is equivalent to Tweety bird’s. If that little yellow feathered turd and I got into a fight, he would own me.
I Am A Failure
My little story. I am an entrepreneur. In years past, I was an entrepreneur in the traditional sense, starting businesses and growing them. Today I am an author, which not-so-interestingly, is just like any other form of business, you need to sell what do and do what you do, really well. The only difference is instead of having thirty employees reporting to you, you have one part time assistant. . . who is either in India or is a family member or both.
I have failed a lot. I have lost all my money. I have crashed more start-ups than I have grown. I have offended probably everyone (including myself a couple times). And now I am failing at my fastest rate ever. Why?
I have set an absurdly massive perception (AMP) for myself: I am the most prolific business author of this century. (Note: There is a reason I use “I am“, instead of “I will be,” and you need to, too.)
Talk about failure. If you asked anyone on the street. I mean, anyone, including my mother how “prolific” I am. They would say, who’s this asshole you’re talking about. (Note: My mom wouldn’t call me an asshole, she would call me a douche.) But here’s the deal, failure is the ONLY way to success. Every day I take a shot at achieving my vision, and fail. And regardless of what your vision is, the only way you will get there is by failing your way to it.
Good Failure vs. Bad Failure
Failure is failure. It is neither good nor bad. It is how you interpret it that determines its value. People who see failure as good, know the “it.”
Someone once told me that when you fail once, you are given a chance to learn. If you fail a second time, your ignorant. You know what? They lied. Failure isn’t just about learning, its really about testing your commitment and finding clarity. Failure simply asks, “How bad do you want it?” Once you know the “it” failure becomes a ladder that you climb. But when you experience bad failure, the kind that keeps you in the muck of depression, you haven’t defined “it” yet.
The Turning Point
Henry David Thoreau is credited with variations of this saying: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and die with their song still inside them.” Quiet desperation happens when you haven’t hit rock bottom yet. Quiet desperation is a never ending free-fall with no bottom. You don’t hit the bottom that you can bounce off.
If you are experiencing quiet desperation, it’s time to hit the floor. It is actually easy to do. You simply need to admit that you are living a life of quiet desperation. And, I suspect since you already are saying “I am a failure,” you are at the floor. That’s good news, its the turning point.
It is like an alcoholic saying I “don’t have a drinking problem.” Until you accept your reality, you can’t change it. So, as ironic as it is, congratulations on making your “I am a failure” decree. You have put yourself much closer to recovery.
The next step? Seek out your “it.”
What’s The It
I have studied the difference between people who see failure as yet further proof of who they are, and others who see failure as another step up the ladder. The difference? People who use failure to climb, have absolute clarity on their life’s purpose. People buried by failure, lack purpose.
You would think there was other differences, right? How about the difference of their upbringing (or lack thereof)? What about financial circumstances? Abuse? Relationships? Luck? Bad luck? All irrelevant. No matter how tragic their story or how wonderful their luck, it had no influence on if people felt they were a failure or not. The only difference was if the person, regardless of their circumstances, was living life with purpose or not.
If you want to stop being buried by failure, you need to define your life’s purpose. And, if you don’t know what your life’s purpose is. . . you life’s purpose (at least for now) is to find your life’s purpose. Constantly ask yourself, why am I here? What do I need to do? And be willing to listen to the answers that you present yourself. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to discover the answer, since every time you fail to find it, you get closer to finding it. See, you are already using failure as a ladder.
When you find your purpose, you will get into the groove – where you hidden talents reveal themselves and you lose the sense of time. You are living your purpose when you build energy as you do it. You’re living your purpose, when you experience failure and you see it as another step up the ladder.
My Virtual Chest
And regards to my virtual chest situation. I am done with that bad failure, and am now a weight room loyalist. Interestingly I am now experiencing good failure constantly (those damn weights are heavy).
Tweety bird can go suck it.
And if you are ready to finally have your failure suck it, read this little story about flying lawn chairs.