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  • Writer's pictureTashya De Silva

Reframing Failure for Success

Too many of us are scared of failing that we don't realize the only true failing is not trying at all. There is no linear path to success. You can't expect to start something and not experience challenges and obstacles along the way, this is all part of the journey! Don't view these roadblocks as a reason to stop instead it is an opportunity to learn and tackle the problem more intelligently. Whenever you fail, it's important to recognize your progress - whatever work you did leading to this point has value and with the lessons learnt, you are one (or several) steps closer to achieving the results you desire!

Tip 1: Redefining Failure as an Opportunity to learn

Try to ask yourself what can I learn from this? Why didn't this work? Is there a better way? and start again! For your own wellbeing, confidence, and grit - it is important to reframe failure. Remember, if success was easy and only a matter of applying what you know, everyone would be successful. Yet, it is only the risk-takers, visionaries, determined, hard working and strong-wiled that truly believe in themselves and dont let the small bumps or big pot-holes determine their end destination. Your journey may be longer than anticipated, and you may be required to choose a different route more than once but never change your final destination!

In the dictionary, success is defined as 'the accomplishment of an aim or purpose'. In most cases, success is most commonly associated with achieving a particular level of fame, wealth or social status. Once again, this benchmark varies from individual to individual and is relative to that person's own values, education, social circles, beliefs, upbringing, family, environment etc. Even more, most people are never satisfied; you can achieve one goal and completly neglect that achievement, as you are now focused on a larger/greater goal. It is so important to recognise and celebrate your growth - no matter how small or easy it was, it has brought you to a place where you can now dream of bigger and better things.

Tip 2: Cultivating Emotional Resilience *

When things dont go as planned (which in life is inevitable) you must rely on your own self-belief that you will succeed. It is within these heartbreaking, dissapointing and unexpected moments of life that you can develop your resilience. This is not only important for you to be able to achieve your goals and succeed but a useful trait for daily living. If you think about it - the odds are likely that on any given day you will encounter stressors. Cultivating emotional resilience allows you to direct you energy & thoughts away from your feelings of stress towards productive ways of working with life's stressors.

The key here is balance - you must learn to enjoy life's experiences without overindulgence, exercise caution without excessive fear, have a healthy sense of self without being arrogant. Do not seek perfection nor deny the harsh realities of life, view the world with neither optimistism nor pessimism but rather be realistic. As an emotional resilient person, you would embrace challenges, vulnerabilities, working with what is and being flexible about your preferences. There are five ingredients that I would recommend as useful to further enhance your resilience -

  1. Gratitude - whenever your thoughts or attention is pulled to something unpleasant or undesirable, try to reframe with gratitude. E.g. I hate being so busy! People are always asking me to help them instead tell yourself, I am grateful I am able to help so many people.

  2. Compassion - recognize that all of us have struggles and deserve kindness. Try to understand and see each person from their own perspective. When you actively seek compassion and focus on relieving other's suffering, you will inevitably feel lighter and happier.

  3. Acceptance - for yourself, others, and situations. There are certain things in life beyond our control, wasting your time and energy fretting about them only makes you feel more helpless. Instead, accept these things and allow yourself to foster an inner calmness, save your energy and focus on fighting external challenges that you can control.

  4. Meaning - At any given point, make sure you are doing what is most meaningful to you. Align your actions to your identity (Who am I?) your purpose (Why am I here?) and the bigger picture (What is this world?)

  5. Forgiveness: recognise that you want your life to be guided by higher meaning not by your wounds. Hence forgive yourself, your past, others and whatever is holding you back. Life is unfair and unjust at times but there is also a lot of blessings. In order to move forward, you must forgive and look towards the future.

Tip 3: Never Doubt yourself

Doubt is your greatest enemy. You need to understand that failure is inevitable but it will make the final destination all the more beautiful. Think of failure as the condiment that gives success its flavour. Like with most emotions and moments in our lives, we would never be able to truly celebrate and enjoy our success if we have not experienced the despair and darkness of failure. We are all human, by definition this means we are prone to mistakes and are infalliable. Your 'failure' is not a sign of your worth or capabilities but a part of the process; moulding you into the diamond that you can become if you withstand the pressure. Believe in yourself and cast away your doubt! You can achieve whatever you set your mind to!

*Inspired by The Mayo Clinic Handbook for Happiness: A 4-step plan for resilient living (Amit Sood). Click HERE to buy the book

Image sourced from Canva

Disclaimer: The following information is not a suitable replacement for therapy or professional help. Mental health is very complex and there are various individual differences due to circumstances, genetics and life experience. All information published has been generalised and done in good faith. However, we will not be liable for any actions taken as a result of this website/post. If you are facing mental health concerns, it is important you reach out to a professional. You may also contact us at for further support.

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