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5 Lessons to Extract From the Biggest Failures in Your Life




Failures in life are one of the most unpleasant, yet unavoidable experiences that we tend to experience in any phase of life. We try to avoid failures as much possible. No matter how well we are prepared for the finals, upcoming job interview or business presentation, we might slip to some extent that we wished we hadn’t. The point is, failures constitute a major part of our life which is unavoidable, and the real deal is what we try to get out of it.

Here are 5 lessons you can learn from the biggest failures in your life:

1. Failure strengthens your character

Residing in the comfort zone is the easiest thing to do in life. There are no concerns, challenges, and anything that bothers you at all, hence, nothing that could put you off with the true hardships in life. On the downside, you become stagnant in your progress and character development in life.

On the other hand, character development is done when you step out of your comfort zone. We shape ourselves through the trials and hardships experienced on daily basis. Confrontation with your failures is one of the most important tests for character development. The failure will challenge your determination and motivation to cut through it and emerge victorious. Agreeably, it takes courage to succeed in the quest to overcome the failures.

People find it easy to fall down when times are tough, only those who stay persistent in the life’s obstacles are duly rewarded. The point to understand is that we will truly appreciate the beauty and significance of life, only when we have witnessed the dark times.

“Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.” – Robert F. Kennedy

2. Failure is the wisest teacher

Success isn’t the best of teachers, as it tempts the students to believe that this is the limit or they cannot lose. Consequently, people tend to become complacent and start taking things for granted. While the complacency makes us more reactive and less proactive in the effort to acquire happiness.

On the other side, failure has a number of important lessons in store for all of us. In fact, our frustrations and shortcoming teach us more about being “successful” than the “success” itself.

Failure is an option that is inevitable in life, and shouldn’t be ignored foolishly. The entire point of understanding and embracing failure is to learn from it and prevent yourself from committing the same mistakes all over again in the future.

3. Failure showcases areas of improvement

We tend to pass through few golden phases in life where everything we do turns out to be successful, unfortunately, making us believe that these “good times” are going to follow ever after. This is the time where failures in life prove to come as the biggest “reality checks” and force you to bring your feet back on the ground realizing what real-life struggles actually are.

The biggest of all, failure helps you locate the areas in your life that requires some dire fixing. For example, if you are not performing up to the mark at your current workplace, there might be a number of reasons to blame. However, this also indicates that you need to improve your communication and people management skills, acquire more technical expertise, or set your priorities accordingly. Simply speaking, you must not have enough dedication on board.

Students and professionals from all industries and walks in life should understand that failure is a temporary detour from your main course, and not an apocalyptic dead-end. Most of the time, failures show us that something is not happening right. Therefore, rather than whining over your failures and attempting to forget it, we should learn from them and work on our areas of improvement for a better learning experience and future.

“It’s failure that gives you the proper perspective on success.” – Ellen DeGeneres

4. Failure encourages you to start again

Fortunately, the human brain and will is strong enough to get us back up after the most recent failure in our life. As the saying often goes, “we always have a choice”, any defeat is not a one-stop end, but you always get second and third chances to prove yourself. Life always gives us multiple opportunities in different forms to get back and continue with our purpose in life. You can start all over again, only this time with more vigilance and smartness than before.

5. Failure tempts you to experience your utmost potential

Living up to your complete potential means extending your boundaries and crossing the limitations set by your mental and physical barriers, in short, turning the impossible into possible. This is where failures elevate us in life. In order to live up to your full potential, one must pass through multiple layers of failures till he or she accomplishes the goal set. Embracing failure means you are acquiring the relevant touchpoints on your journey to success.

Understanding and acknowledging the occurrence of failures means you are willing to take constructive risks in life, one of those powerful abilities that drives the person forward towards his or her complete potential.

How do you recover from failure? Comment below!

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Lara Hawkins is a professional psychologist and specializes in conducting seminars and workshops on character development, motivation in life, emotional intelligence, and other related topics. Besides her core job and experience in handling clients from all industries and geographical boundaries, Lara also runs an accomplished best assignment company catering both students and professionals in a variety of academic disciplines.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Aaron Force

    Mar 1, 2018 at 10:56 pm

    Hi Lara! These are all super great reminders. You’re absolutely right, failure can be one of the best things to happen to us. This is a wonderful reminder, your points are spot-on, and I’m inspired to push on even IF failure is a possibility. Thanks so much for sharing this, I’m passing it on to my Twitter tribe.

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How many times did you wake up feeling like you could conquer the world? You set ambitious goals for the day, you put on your best attire and walked out the door with a big smile on your face but eventually, life took over. Traffic, emails, work, family, and everything else you have around slowly but steadily started to drain your energy and made you feel exhausted.

You run out of battery, and the only solution that seemed viable was to rely on more caffeine. When that stopped working, all the temptations around you started to look much more appealing, and that sense of drive and commitment you had before slowly faded away. This is you running out of willpower.

Willpower: what is it? Why is it limited?

The American Psychology Association describes willpower as “the ability to resist short-term temptations in order to meet long-term goals.” In the book “The Willpower Instinct”, Dr. Kelly McGonigal, explains how every person’s willpower is limited, and slowly depletes throughout the day. The more “willpower challenges” you face, the quicker your reserve drains. Dr. McGonigal divided the different types of willpower challenges you might encounter in three categories:

  • I will: We face this type of challenge whenever we should do something, but we simply don’t feel like getting it done right now.
  • I won’t: We face this challenge when we try to resist temptation, or we try to keep cool in stressful situations.
  • I want: This is a particular type of challenge where we keep track of our long term goals, dreams, and desires. In this instance, we feel like we should take action right now to come one step closer to the goal. 

It’s easy to recognize it when you face a willpower challenge because you literally “feel it in your body.” Imagine being really hungry and walking in front of a bakery. The sight and the smell of pastries quickly triggers an “I won’t” type of challenge, and it takes a severe amount of effort and energy to walk away.

Every time you manage to win one of those challenges, a little bit of your willpower reserve gets used. The more challenges you face daily, the harder it will be to stay true to your goals.

Can you train or recharge your willpower?

A growing body of research suggests that willpower should be considered a muscle. To strengthen it, you should exercise it regularly, but you should not overwork it. Therefore, we shouldn’t try to “be good” at all times. Instead, we should learn how to relax and recharge our willpower.

The general advice on how to improve willpower involves sleep, proper nutrition, and regular exercise. This broad and general recommendation is often not downright applicable by most, because it consists of changing various daily habits. Luckily, three very effective hacks have been discovered, that have an immediate effect on our willpower and take just a few minutes to apply.

Here are the 3 ways to refill your willpower reserves:

1. Focused breathing

Breathing, when done correctly, can stimulate the release of calming hormones while reducing the release of stress hormones like cortisol and catecholamines. To make this effective, you should deeply and slowly inhale through the nose for at least five seconds. Fill your belly with air first, then your chest, and when there’s no more space for air, still try to do tiny inhalations through the nose.

You should feel a pulling sensation around your neck and trapezius muscles. Once your lungs are full, try to hold the breath for five seconds, then slowly exhale through the mouth for at least five seconds. If you repeat this process ten to twenty times, you should feel dramatically more relaxed. Use this method several times a day, especially when you’re experiencing high levels of stress or anxiety.

2. Reward yourself when you accomplish a micro goal

According to a recent study, frequent instant rewards can boost motivation, and therefore, willpower. Creating your own reward system can help you to accomplish your to-do list, and also resist temptations. Since every individual has different tastes, you should come up with creative ideas about the small and frequent rewards you will give yourself upon winning any willpower challenge.

You can see this hack in practice in Apps like the popular Duolinguo, where after completing each lesson you get presented with a chance to open a treasure chest. This rewarding system seems to keep the users much more likely to keep learning new lessons.

3. Taking cold showers

Your body has an autonomic response to cold water. Getting into a cold shower is a difficult (but minor) willpower challenge on its own. As I previously mentioned, winning a willpower challenge strengthens your willpower muscle. Having a morning cold shower, on top of having multiple health benefits, will set you up for a positive winning streak of further challenges.

High performance is the sum of many small habits. Successful people don’t have an unlimited reserve of willpower, but they do have a set of daily rituals that made them succeed. These three hacks are some of the most effective techniques to develop willpower, but some of them may not fit every individual. You should try to find the perfect mix of daily practices that best fits your lifestyle and likes, so that you can strengthen your willpower muscle and perform better at work.

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