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Wednesday, 12 January 2011

How to Survive Failure

Failure is one of the most important things in life. If it isn't in the top three, then it is definitely up there in the top ten. Everyone has to fail as often as they can and as early as they can.

Consider the person who sails through life in their younger years. They live in a loving home where everything they do has a selection of admirers standing 'ooohing' and 'aaahing' and clapping their hands.

School does not test them too much and they fly high at college. This person's first bitter taste of failure could come as late as university, in a job, or in a relationship. What do they do? They have (gulp) failed at something. It will probably hit them quite hard. It might even stop them doing anything else for a while.

Because, dear friend, it is how we handle failure that determines how we live.

Consider everything that we do in life. It is how we recover from the trips and falls which will define who we are. If you fall off a bicycle, you have to get back on if you want to learn to ride.

If you fall off and then think to yourself: 'Oh no! I've failed, I will never, ever, never do that again.' Well, there you go, there will be no bike rides for you for ever more.

It is the same in spreadbetting. If you are an individual who wants to make money on the stock exchange or money markets, then your failures are the most important thing which bring meaning to your life.

It is not the wins. It's never the wins. You won? Oh good, you won before too - well done. Do it again.

You lost? You mean you failed? Oh no, you loser. What will you do now? Will you go and buy a paper bag to hide your head in shame? It is actually how you recover and the strategy you use as you start to lose that decides whether you are a failure or a winner.

The feelings which are attached to losing and failing can be some of the deepest and most profound ones that we feel. They can be feelings of guilt, of shame, of fear tinged with regret. Depending on the magnitude of your failure, they can be very powerful feelings of rejection and of never wanting to have to feel like this again.

Luckily, because of the mass media in the world in which we live, we are surrounded by both winners and losers. And the losers that we get to see each day in the newspapers and on TV are of the most spectacular kinds. Politicians, celebrities, TV pundits, other people in the news are always doing something silly and failing to do their jobs or failing to spot the obvious.

I say 'luckily' because some of the people who are in the headlines are some of the most resilient people in the world. It is often possible to see someone fail dramatically. To see them fail with an earth-shatteringly, devastatingly, crippling blow. And then, in the next month, or next year, they are back! Younger looking, more groomed, with something new to say, or a detailed description of why they lost it all in a new book out today.

We see failed marriages played out in the newspapers, failed parents, failed careers and businesses, but it does not mean that the person themselves is a failure. It is true that many people do sink without a trace never to be seen again. But the survivors can give us all a very good example.

The next time you feel a failure or a flop, sit and think about the latest politician scandal or sportsman coverage in the papers and put your little problem into perspective. Think to yourself, how much do I want this? If the answer comes out 'not that much actually', then move on. But if you think, ' I really really want to do this', then get up, brush the dust off your clothes and off you go - try, try, try again!!!


  1. I enjoyed your post. I am looking into a better future.

  2. Oh that's so kind. I'm really glad that you found it helpful. Good luck for everything you do in future.


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