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How does failure really helps us?

Failure makes us grow


Why do we fear failure?


I am not talking about crippling failures - those that will make you go completely bankrupt or bedridden. It is not wise to engage in activities that will lead to those.


We have been programmed to grow. A baby does not give up learning to walk despite stumbling and falling down many times. Look at the undying enthusiasm of little children when they learnt something new. Look at how they come up with creative solutions that sometimes, we as adults, may not be able to relate with. Listen to the questions they ask and observe how they come up with creative solutions that we can't think of. Observe the amount of curiosity they have when they learn new things.


They are simply not afraid to try new things and make mistakes.
Where has the enthusiasm (to try and learn new things and face the possibility of failure) gone to as we grow up into adults?


Throughout our socialisation process, we learn what we can do and cannot do - based on the definition of our society. Some of these social rules are made to protect us from danger. However, it also comes with additional social norms, such as wanting to fit in our society. We are conditioned to recognise what danger is. We are conditioned to accept the success that comes easily. Therefore, failure, especially repeated ones, are not seen as positive. In short,  we go through social conditioning.

We are creatures of habit.


We embrace predictability and order. We try not to do things which makes us fail. Rising to a new challenge opens us up to the unknown. It makes us vulnerable. It opens up to the possibility of failing. What is worse, we may not know how to stand back up and overcome the failure. When we try something new, there is no one to provide us with advice and guide us because it is not easy to find someone who have genuinely walked the path and succeeded.

Throughout our lives, when we experience and observe others facing undesirable consequences from change, it reinforces the idea that the less travelled path is not as comfortable and less desirable. Throughout our social conditioning, we have been conforming to social norms and veer away from danger. We have grown accustomed to set formulas. Starting with A will lead you to B. 2 + 3 =5.  


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Fear of failure prevents us from changing and keeps us in the same position.


We fear failure because we are may not be well equipped to rise up to a challenge. We fear failure because hurts our ego, it makes others look down on us. However, had we broken down our dreams into incremental steps and reflect how far we have gone, that on its own will be a form of encouragement.


Does failure really makes you grow? 


See life as a growing process, a chance to learn and improve continuously through change. Why is it necessary to embrace failure then?


Wanting to overcome a failure and committing to the process makes your grow.


The process of wanting to do better than yesterday, whether it is by a small margin or a a great one, and being committed to it stretches your potential day by day. Over time, you would have become a much better person by continuously learning and trying to overcome previous failures. The process of absorbing new ideas, trying out new ideas and implementing and creating new solutions and committing to these processes till you succeed make you grow.


Change your perspective of failure.


Embrace failure. Fear is natural. Allowing fear to weigh us down is not. View failure as 'work in progress' and not as a stumbling block to your goal. View failure as a chance, an opportunity to do better and improve.  Eventually it will lead you to growth.


Written by Abraham A.L on 2 Jan 2016

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