Failure is strange. How do you know if you have really failed? Is it because you failed to complete something on a predefined deadline. Or maybe whatever you built just does not work. Failure seems subjective in a way. Sure, not raising money for a project, not getting the sale or failing a compliance test is a failure but is it really a total failure. One day, someone might give you money, you can always get the next sale and passing a compliance test might just be a minor tweak away. So, is failure really failure or is it just a failure at that particular moment.
Some failure is permanent. These catastrophic failures are when life and limb are involved and are unrecoverable. Barring those, is failure really that catastrophic or just and opportunity to learn. If you expand the time scales and look back at your past failures, are they really that big a deal? Was failing freshman calculus really as catastrophic now as it was then. Sure, it was a setback but not the major one it felt like at the time. Failure is subjective instead of being a permanent state. The trick to realizing that is to accept the temporary nature of failure and move on from it.
There are a lot of people today that feel like a failure because they lost their job. While it seems like a catastrophic event that creates anxiety now, it is really not a failure. More importantly, it is an opportunity to learn and grow beyond whatever setup created the situation in the first place. Just because you lost your job does not mean that you are a failure or cannot succeed. Failure is subjective. Treating failure as an opportunity rather than a state of being is the best way to deal with this temporary state.
Our society does a poor job of dealing with failure or rather temporary setbacks. We are a winner society that wants only to be on top. Anything less, is considered a failure. How can this be? Sure, it is great to strive for being number one but is there not value in being number two or even number ten. Why is it winner take all rather than winner was lucky just at this particular time and next time, they might just fail. Failure is always an option. Thinking about it as a temporary state rather than an end state will turn any failure into an opportunity to learn. This is the attitude we need now to get past our temporary setbacks.
CopyBlogger has a great post on this as well. Check it out here.