fail·ure [feyl-yer] noun: an act or instance of failing or proving unsuccessful; lack of success: “His effort ended in failure.”
If you search the term “succeed”, Google will reward you with 46.6 million results. Look up “fail”, however, and you’re hit with a whopping 184 million results. That’s four times the amount.
Does this surprise you? It shouldn’t. Our society seems so turned on by failure — a quick glance at a magazine stand could tell you that. Heck, look at your life up to this moment and ask yourself: am I where I expected to be at this age?
If you’re anything like me, Failure’s like that plush armchair in the corner of your house. Once you’ve made it your home, not even Carnival could get you out.
It’s so easy to get caught up in our losses. And yet, so many notable figures were considered failures at one point or another: Jordan. Disney. Einstein.
Sophia Amoruso is the anti-capitalistic, dumpster diving ne’er do well-turned-CEO of wildly lucrative online retailer NastyGal. I’m halfway through her book #GIRLBOSS and I’ve got to say, she knows her stuff. Her words may not flow like waterfalls, but that’s what I admire about her — she’s refreshingly honest about her faults, if even to a fault.
In one particularly striking portion of her book, Amoruso takes another look at what it means to be a failure.
Your challenge as a #GIRLBOSS is to dive head first into things without being too attached to the results. When your goal is to gain experience, perspective, and knowledge, you are no longer failing on someone else’s terms. Failure is now your invention. Look for the silver lining. The one who succeeds learns from the rest of the world who fails. The truly successful woman has enough confidence to define success and failure for herself.
-paraphrased from #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amuroso*
It doesn’t matter whether your road to success is paved with gold or with unforgiving coals. Success is a matter of perspective, in the same way that he who controls the language controls the world. If you don’t believe me, replace all your negative inner dialogue with positive thoughts for the next 30 days, and suddenly your “can’t”s become “can”s.
If you look at failure not as flat tires, but as stopovers meant to beef up your load and attitude to prepare you for even greater journeys ahead, then the road to success suddenly becomes a lot more bearable. The President at my company once told me that I view life as a big checklist… accomplish something once, and I’m done. But in this way, I’m not allowing myself to be refined. Heck, sandpaper hurts against bare skin until you realize it’s just sloughing away dead skin cells. I’m learning to swallow my pride, especially when those with more experience suggest changing my approach. Just three months in to being a copywriter, I’ve gotten my butt handed to me over and over again all for the purpose of seeing “failure” as an opportunity to become better.
My goal is to become the best writer and Creative I can be. This means accepting the failures as they come. I’m not sure where this road will lead but I’m thankful to you, oh faithful reader, for the company.
Cheers to my fellow Failures. To fail means you’ve tried; you’ve risked something. And that’s a whole lot better than waiting around for nothing.
*Quote doctored a bit; Stephen King once said that writing your own versions of a story can gratify more than the studio-produced ones can. And if the King says it’s okay, then it must be.