However I recently got thinking about what drives me and keeps me motivated, and I was quite surprised to summarise that it’s actually my failures that push me forward. Hmm. Sure, winning an award and getting praise, or achieving a goal in some way is absolutely awesome; but I think the danger there is letting yourself get a little stuck. I mean, getting the thumbs up for something will make you feel good, but it might also subconsciously make you think you don’t have to do anything extra. Does that make sense?
The feeling of failure, or not quite getting something you wanted is always bad. I’m not going to sugar coat it. But haven’t we all had those moments and afterwards we’re like, ‘Fuck. Okay. How can I fix this? How can I make sure I don’t fail next time?’.
Those moments of feeling bad are temporary, and they motivate us in a big way to change our current situations, which is a powerful thing. Happiness or successes won’t always make you want to change anything, after all; that means you’re getting everything right, doesn’t it? But change can be amazing. Opening yourself up to new ideas, experiences or trying to find a different path for yourself is what makes you learn more about yourself ultimately.
Failure can be good. You never realise this more so, than when you let it push you further, and you end up succeeding in something you never thought possible, or in an unexpected way. This is the exact reason I still have a tattered, faded old rejection letter from my first choice university that I applied to right back around 2007. Yeah, I still keep a crappy rejection letter from almost ten years ago telling me I didn’t quite make the cut, and that I ‘just weren’t quite what they were looking for’. You might think I’m crazy, but I’m so glad I kept this. Every single time I find it again in an old box of mine, I laugh. I feel really, really good about myself. Because although I remember the tears I shed when I first got this letter, and how much I thought my life was over; I also remember how it changed me afterwards, and how far I’ve come since.
I went to my next interviews at universities and I spoke with more passion than I ever had before. I told them how badly I wanted this, and why I deserved it too. The fear of failing again was nipping at my toes, and keeping me going. I ended up getting offers on all my other university choices, and I specifically remember how much better those interviews and applications went. My heart was truly in it then.
These days, I laugh when I look at that old rejection letter because I think how awful it would have been if I had of gotten a place at that university. I wouldn’t have had the friends, relationships, job experience and life I’ve had now. I’m also cocky about it. I pity them for not wanting me back then – FOOLS I tell ya.
This is just one example, but it’s the same with at least a handful of stories I have about my own failures. I do truly believe that there’s always a silver lining to failing. You learn something about yourself, you get that motivation even more to succeed, and hopefully you have a better understanding of how to do it.
Don’t let fear of failing hold you back. Learn from it, and kick it’s ass.
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