Look for the seeds of future greatness and
accomplishment in all of your adversity,
failure and heartache. When we mope after a
setback, we get our eyes on ourselves rather
than on our future. Some of the greatest accomplishments are born out of that which
grows from our adversity. Action Point: Give some time today to look for what the seeds
may be – then plant them, water them, and watch them grow! Failure brings benefit.
Now that I’m in a different season of life (and self-employed again, by the way) I can look back and know my hard work wasn’t all for naught. I needed my epic failure. Here’s what I took away from it:
An epic failure usually isn’t a complete disaster—it’s just a matter of finding the nuggets of success that might be rolling around after the train wreck. In my case I learned I’m good at a lot more than I ever gave myself credit for—like science. Who knew that I would excel at chemistry, really dig microbiology, or ace statistics with no lost points? Today I am supremely proud of my academic accomplishments.
The motivations that underlie your decisions are important. Looking back, job stability and financial security alone aren’t stellar reasons to undertake such a huge endeavor. If my motivation was more deeply held—if, for example, I was moved to the core by serious healthcare issues and bent on making changes in the industry—I probably wouldn’t have given up so thoroughly when my plans were thwarted. Failure brings benefit.
Optimism can be a serious character flaw. I never entertained the thought that I wouldn’t succeed. I honestly thought if I worked harder than anyone else they’d have to let me in—that’s just fair, right? Well, “fair” is the one thing life most assuredly isn’t. Epic failures remind you that you need to let realism—even a dash of pessimism—into your thinking. Failure brings benefit.
You’ll eventually end up where you’re supposed to be. Here’s that blasted optimism kicking in again, but it’s true. I’m a perfect example. You wouldn’t be reading this now if I had not failed so miserably. The cocky confidence I felt when I wrote that monumental essay so long ago should have been a good indicator I was on the wrong career track. Today I’m privileged to research, talk to, and write about brilliant people doing amazing things.
If you’re like me and have lived to tell about a big blunder, I’d love to hear what you’ve learned and how you’re thriving now. Failure brings benefit.