There are tons of blog articles and quotes in the social media sphere these days reminding us of the old adage that 'failure is a part of life' or that 'if you aren't failing - you probably aren't doing it right.' (Whatever it is, anyway.) But despite these numerous reminders, so many of us still seem to overlook the golden tickets that lay hidden in the depths of this so called 'failure'. But they do exist. And they can be so f*king helpful to remember.
So whether you're someone who hasn't received the A Level results that they wanted, missed out on a spot at that University, didn't get the call back after the interview, or have ever just plain and simple felt like a bit of a screw up - this right here is for you...
A chance to get creative with the colours that we're given.
In the midst of all of the heavy emotions, it helps to take a deep breath and remember that 'failure' is actually just a new situation or set of circumstances that our conscious mind considers to be undesirable. Really. Yes, it might not be the situation that we'd hoped for, but at least it's still a situation. A situation that you now have the power to get creative with, mould, transform, decorate and recreate. It's then up to you to use the colours that you're left with to create something that fits you perfectly - a new situation that complements the multifaceted character that you play within this intricate story that we call life.
"The walls we see falling around us are only the walls that have kept us in prison." - Unknown
Some just won't admit it and some don't even know it - but most of us don't actually know why we want the things that we want. Lots of us end up drifting through life wanting things because it's seen as the 'right thing to do' or because it's desirable in the eyes of others. But this is a horrible form of masochistic emotional suicide. This seductive path, while initially attractive, eventually leads to feelings of misery and entrapment; which in turn leads to the dreaded mid-life crises, or 'quarter life crises' that so many of us go on to face. Which is why 'failure' can be the perfect time to throw your metaphorical middle finger up at the world and reclaim your right to turn your back on external pressures, let go and be happy with who you are and what is truly right for you.
A word of advice: Get out of the pressure cooker while you can and redefine success on your own terms.
"Life always gives us the experiences that are most helpful to the evolution of our consciousness" - Eckhart Tolle
Looking back on my failures, screw ups and other difficult periods, I realise that these experiences bring us to where we truly need to be. They're also the things that give us our resilience, our ability to persist and they're the very things that turn a rough looking rock into a sparkling diamond. Without these experiences, we'd be dull, hollow and lack the real substance needed to take us to the great heights that we're destined for. We need to recognize our failures as a significant point of growth and as additions to our personal trophies.
The way it was supposed to be.
One of my aunts once told me about how she had applied for a position in the Military as a young adult, but failed the assessments and was told that she didn't seem up to the job. At the time, she was devastated. But shortly after, by chance, she ended up landing what would turn out to be her 'dream job.' She now looks back in hindsight and thanks the heavens that she 'failed.' She knows now that it's not what she was supposed to do and finds herself being constantly reminded that sometimes failures are one of the signs needed to show us that another route might be better for us. And believe me, it helps to trust this.
"If you work hard enough and assert yourself, and use your mind and imagination, you can shape the world to your desires." - Malcolm Gladwell
As a final note, an important thing to remember is that seeing the positives in failure doesn't mean we have to roll over and give up. In fact sometimes failure can be one of the very things we need to renew our focus and propel us to nail what we want the next time round; or significantly develop our focus to the extent that we're motivated to nail something bigger and better. Remember: energy cannot be created or destroyed - only transformed. So channel the feelings of frustration into some hard core productivity and focus.
You've got this.