The Concept of Failure

Since childhood, we are seemingly told that there are two pathways in life – one of “success” and one of “failure”. If we study hard, work hard, choose our friends wisely and keep our nose out of trouble we will achieve success! However if we do poorly at school, confused about what career to follow, have ‘questionable’ friends and brush up with trouble we will be on the path to failure. Hence from an early age we create an ingrained belief system that “success” is good and “failure” is bad.

So we all board the train with our ticket bought for destination “success”…. We feel energised, hopeful, happy and driven.

But soon enough our train pulls into station “Job lost” or “Broken Relationship” and our compartment is detached from the train and our individual counselling specialists make it easy. We watch the rest of the train pull away as we are left on the platform of this foreign town. Scared and frightened we start to think” if we are not on the train heading to destination success, then we must have landed at destination failure”!

Others on the platform try to comfort us by telling us it will be okay and not to worry because in a few weeks another train heading for destination success will arrive and we can re-board… But our mind is fixed in the concept of counselling for anxiety and depression Rowville versus success and we don’t hear them – we only hear the voices within our own head saying “you loser” “you have failed” “you’re not good enough, accomplished enough”.

Slowly but surely these thoughts spill into all other thoughts and we end up with a head full of negative thinking that generally starts with the word “I”… “I am a failure” “I am not worthy of anything good in my life” “I am not worth loving”. Soon enough we begin to believe these statements and every time that train arrives at the platform we don’t board. It’s not because the train doesn’t stop for us, but because we don’t feel worthy enough to get on it. We believe that all those on the train are worthy of success unlike us. But is this belief actually true? How do we know that the passengers on the train didn’t board after a stop at the last station or will be dropped off at the station ahead??

I encourage you to challenge your concept of success versus failure. Consider that neither success nor failure is good or bad – that they are both experiences to be had on the long train journey of life. We cannot have success without failure or failure without success – they are interlinked, interwoven into our human journey. If you choose this line of thinking you need to re-define your definition of failure.

Here is what I propose:

  • If you fail, never give up… because F.A.I.L. means – “First Attempt in Learning”
  • End is not the end. In fact E.N.D. means – “Effort Never Dies”
  • If you get No as an answer, remember N.O. means “Next Opportunity”
  • Choose positive thinking
  • And get back on the train…