You will fail.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s focus on something more important: how you react when you fail.
You see, everyone fails.
I fail every day. So do you. But failure does not make you special. Failure does not make me special either. In fact, failure does not make any of us special because we all fail at something every day.
Maybe you spilled coffee on yourself. Maybe you bombed a test. Maybe you ruined a relationship. Maybe you went broke.
It’s okay, it happens. It’s recoverable.
I’ve failed a lot in my life. The only areas of life where I have not failed are breathing and having a pulse. Hopefully, those trends continue.
With each failure, however, I learned something new.
I learned that you should not go to grad school (twice) if you’re not “all in” because you will fail multiple classes (twice) and drop out (twice) wasting a lot of time, energy, and money in the process. I learned that you should not be in a relationship if you still want to play the field because it causes a lot of heartache for everyone involved. I learned that you should create a plan of action for how you will eliminate debt before you acquire it, else you find yourself drowning in it.
Nevertheless, I came out ahead because I kept trying and failing until I succeeded. That’s the key: You have got to keep trying and keep failing until you succeed.
That brings us to an important question: What will you do when you fail?
Will you get bitter?
Getting bitter is easy.
All you have to do is blame someone or something else for your misfortunes, and you’re done. You’ve absolved yourself of responsibility and can go on living your life.
Sure, you will know deep down that you could have done more, that you could have tried harder. But that would take work. And work is hard.
Years will pass and your bitterness will grow because you chose to get bitter every time you failed. Or worse, you chose to roll over and let your failures define you.
Instead of thinking, “Wow, I failed,” you thought, “Wow, I am a failure.” One thought reflects your action, to fail; one thought reflects your identity, to be a failure.
While those two thoughts sound similar, they are miles apart because it turns out nouns are far more powerful than verbs. Whereas “failed” describes something you did, “to be a failure” describes someone you are.
That is a powerful difference.
When you define yourself as a failure, you fundamentally change your identity and resign yourself to the fate of a failure. You believe, incorrectly, that you cannot win because that is not what people like you do.
Or, will you get better?
The alternative to getting bitter is to acknowledge that you failed and choose to get better.
Getting better is hard. Getting better can be torturous. But getting better is the only choice if you want to overcome your failures and win.
The key word here is “choice.” You must choose to get better; it is a conscious decision, something that you control completely.
When you choose to get better, you acknowledge that your failures, and your successes, belong to you. You take ownership of your decisions, your actions, and your life. You put yourself back in the driver’s seat and start moving forward again.
You empower yourself.
Failure is not pleasant, it never is. But neither is accepting defeat and changing your self-identity because of a temporary setback.
To fail means only one thing: what you tried to do did not work, this time. That’s all. Nothing more, nothing less.
Even if the opportunity you had is lost for good, you can still take the lessons you learned with you wherever you go and apply those lessons to the next opportunity. Because there will always be another opportunity.
Understand that you cannot fail if you do not try; you cannot succeed either. So, make it a point to try more, fail more, and succeed more.