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Experiencing failure is an inevitable part of human life, and one that we must learn how to deal with, learn from, and pick ourselves up from. Today I am going to focus on 4 types of this failure, as these are the types that we have mostly all experienced, and we will experience again. Hopefully, but understanding the failure, the meaning, and how we can handle it, we can find ourselves better equipped to deal with it when we experience it again.
Different types of failure and how we can learn from them
1. Abject Failure
This is the most personally difficult one. This is the type of failure when people lose something that feels essential to them. Examples of this could be their health, or current level of functioning. Their livelihood from a position that they had no prior fear could be taken from them, or when they have done something that has caused them to lose the trust and respect of those they value and care about. This is a deep failure, a failure that many struggle to recover from. A struggle that like it or not, you will experience again, and you can hopefully learn the coping skills to bounce back from.
If we look at our health, it can be a huge blow to be told that we have some issue that makes us human and delicate. That our life will be changed forever, and that we need to deal with on a regular basis. It is likely not the first health issue you will come across in your life, but it is a defining one. The way that you choose to take control of it, and move forward despite it will say a lot about how you will deal with it in the future. The other, the loss of our livelihood, or the respect of those that we care about is difficult to deal with, but not uncommon. Most people have been let go from a job due to reasons that are, or are not their fault, Most people have been human, and have made mistakes that have let others down who they value. While both of these may happen again in our future, we have to learn from these types of failure, and most importantly, how we spring back from them.
2. Glorious Failure
This is the type of failure where you give something your all, but you fail in an epic blaze of glory. While these failures can feel devastating and dejecting, they are necessary. Also, if we are the type to aim for the start, it is not the first time we are going to deal with Glorious Failure. In fact, I hope not. From every one of these failures comes lessons, builds a tough skin, and enables us to learn from our mistakes. We can only strengthen ourselves and build bigger and better if we allow ourselves to regroup and to take the lessons that we can from it. I wish that this is the type of failure that people experience at least a few times in their life, as it is the thing that greatness is made from…..if we allow it.
3. Common Failure
This is your average everyday failure, and since none of us are perfect, you will experience it, and you will experience it again. This is forgetting an appointment, bringing the wrong disk to a presentation. Not remembering to copy hand-outs for a meeting early, only to find out the copier if broken and there is no other option. This is forgetting a friend’s birthday, or forgetting a report was due Friday at noon and not at 3pm. These are mistakes we make because we are human beings, and we will make them again. In this case, we simply need to learn to forgive ourselves and move on.
4. Predicted failure
This is the kind of failure we can count on. Think of it as the beta test of any new idea we are trying out. We have out things in place and we are going to see if they work well, or of there are “bugs.” If we are someone with lots of goals and ideas, we will experience this type of failure many times in our lives. The most important thing is how we deal with the failure. There are people who do not have the wherewithal to handle even predicted failure, and therefore may not be cut out for swinging for the fences. Others know that this is a normal part of the cycle of creation and growth, and that it can be a valuable learning experience to learn how to improve upon projects, themselves, and their ability to adapt.