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Why Feeling Like a Failure is a Good Thing

It's happened again. You feel like a failure. You thought you had kicked this mental habit, but the n
Why Feeling Like a Failure is a Good Thing
It’s happened again. You feel like a failure.
You thought you had kicked this mental habit, but the negative thinking is back.
I have something to tell you.
It’s OK. It really is. Everyone feels this way.
And I have a counterintuitive take on what it means to feel like a failure.
What if you actually need to feel this way from time to time?

My Life as a Failure
What does it mean to fail?
It’s subjective thing, isn’t it?
I’ve failed plenty of times in my life, and, for so long, I tried to push back against it. I didn’t fail! This wasn’t fair. If things had gone this way instead of that, I would have been just fine!
Whiny whine whine.
I’ve written countless blog posts that no one has ever seen. I’ve written terrible poetry that I then deleted and started over. I left my service term in the Peace Corps after eight months because I got too sick and was, essentially, set up to fail by an inept and bloated bureaucracy.
Still, I felt like a massive failure.
The Evolving Meaning of Failure
These examples just scratch the surface. Life is an endless stream of beautiful failures.
And as I failed more, I realized that failure has a deeper, more poignant meaning. Failure is actually really important.
I argue that it is necessary and, dare I say, very good indeed.
Because what happens when we fail?
We learn something.
I had to write countless failing blog posts and poems to find my voice. I had to go the Peace Corps to fail so that I could “finish my service” in Montana with AmeriCorps, which is where I met my wife. And it’s where I found myself and my calling–sharing mental health information with others.
If I had not failed in a big way in Guatemala, I never would have gotten on the right path to become a mental health advocate and social worker.
Failing is a corrective process; it puts you on the path that is right for you.
All Failures Can Be Used
Now I think, I NEED to fail, and I need to fail fast.
What do I mean? I mean that failures are data. They give me enhanced perspective. I can use these new data points to correct my course, to move on to a path that is healthier and more enjoyable.
This is what I do when I fail.
If I fail, I do a rapid assessment. What just happened? What did I learn from this? How am I feeling right now? Why am I feeling this way?
See, you have to embrace the failure. It’s completely possible to fail and not learn anything from it–to keep doing the things that you’ve always done. But what’s the value of doing that?
Failures are the best learning opportunities that you have.
What to Do When You Fail
Use the experience to your benefit. Not everyone is so fortunate. Some people go through their entire lives not failing at all–or, at least, avoiding failure as much as possible. But what this leads to is a boring life of mediocrity and complacency.
It is only through the failure journey that you learn who you are.
Next time you fail, try this.
Realize that failing is subjective–but the meaning you create afterwards is ALSO subjective.
You don’t have to let failure ruin your day, month, or year. You can learn something from it. If you approach failure with endless curiosity, you can create endless meaning. This is a process that gets easier the more you do it.
Know that you are in good company. The most ambitious people fail all of the time.
Everyone has to start somewhere. Do you think the best orators stood up one day and gave a first perfect, magical speech? Of course not.
Fail forward, my friend.
Failing doesn’t mean that you are transported back in time, although it might feel like that at times. Every time you fail, you do so with increased knowledge. You are not the same person with each passing failure. You have more self-awareness. You are wiser and stronger. Remember that.
Be the Best Failure You Can Be
I still don’t have it all figured out. I’m still failing all the time. The difference between my failures from years ago and my current failures is that I don’t let them stun me like they did when I was younger.
I still have writing that falls flat. But now I know to pick myself up faster and try something else.
If one thing doesn’t work, I’m a few data points closer to finding another thing that will.
Have you ever thought of failure in this beautiful, refreshing way?
Thank you for reading. Do you have a failure you’d like to share. Send me an email, and let’s talk about it.
Take Care,
Jordan Brown - Let's build a #MentalHealthMovement
You have so much to give.

Often, it's your limiting beliefs that are holding you back.

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