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  • Writer's pictureMartin Benefer

Failing doesn't make you a failure

Take a walk in nature and what do you notice? Trees of all sizes, ages and stages of development; twisting, turning and stretching out as they grow towards the light.

Look closer and you'll see the scars of broken branches, numerous signs of damage and the evidence of many failed attempts to get ahead. And yet, we not only accept it, we marvel at it.

We marvel at the story before our eyes - of trial and error, success and failure and continual perseverance to grow into something incredible. We see a tree, as trees are supposed to be.

And yet, when it comes to our own development, we so often forget that we too are part of nature. We so easily neglect to marvel at ourselves in the same compassionate way. Instead we hide our scars, apologise for our failures and berate ourselves for the inefficiencies that prevented us from reaching our goals sooner.

We forget one very important rule:

Nature doesn't grow in straight lines and neither do we!

If you stretch out and seek to grow in new areas, failure is inevitable - it's the nature of learning.

Just like anything in the natural world, you try, you fail, you adapt, you persevere...and you eventually succeed.

The only way not to fail is not to try and not to learn. To stay safe, stay small, and stay within yourself.

To effectively stay the same or regress, unaware of what you could achieve.

Adopt a Growth Mindset

What if you could see failure in a different light? Not negative, not even neutral. But a positive! Evidence of your learning, development and growth - evidence of your continual success.

A growth mindset enables you to see failure not as a setback, but as a progress - feedback of your continual improvement as you twist, turn and adapt - inching closer towards your goals.

Might sound simple. So why so hard?

Well, what if you have too much to lose? What if you HAVE to succeed? What if failure is NOT an option? Then what?!

Maybe too much is at stake without even realising.

Separate yourself from your Goals

If a tree loses a branch, it grows another. If it is restricted from growth in one direction it finds a new one. And if it is cut right back to the ground it will reset itself and grow again. It doesn't stop being a tree or stop being of value because of external events in its life.

Remember this as you face your own set-backs. And remember it as you seek out your goals.

They do not define you if you achieve them and they do not invalidate you if you don't.

Just as a tree remains a tree, irrespective of which branches are lost, you remain you regardless of which goals are reached, which are not and which are achieved in ways you never foresaw possible!

So, I challenge you to do 3 things:

  1. Set aside the absurdity of straight line growth

  2. Embrace the set-backs of your natural development

  3. Remind yourself you are more than your goals

And if you struggle, imagine a perfectly straight tree with no twists, turns, scars or stories to tell.

It might just reset your vision of what a perfect success story actually is!

Good luck!


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