On a primal level, human success is simply about survival. Rosalind Scutt discusses success in a modern context and reveals five steps to recovery after failure.
For centuries, success meant survival. Beating neighbouring clans to resources would ensure the ongoing survival of a group so finding food, water and territory was paramont. Fast forward to the modern era where (for many of us) the basic necessities are easier to come by, and success looks a little more complicated.
Modern measures of success are more abstract and although the definition will vary according to the individual, most people believe that attaining wealth, status, power, good looks, health and fulfilling relationships will render them as being outwardly successful. Some will go one step further and identify a need for spiritual fulfilment.
But that's a lot to achieve (and certainly more than what nature may have originally intended). Few of us can tick all the boxes and even if we could, research suggests that attaining success by these measures does not always equal happiness.
Most of us will journey through life striving to realise whatever goals we established for ourselves early in life (in fact, it is very likely these goals were established for us, subconsciously as we witnessed the examples set for us in society).
So what do we do when after a lifetime of gentle drift towards notions of personal success we find that we have failed?
A bankrupt business, broken marriage or inadequate career trajectory can hit us where it hurts most in the ego centre. How should we deal with it and can ever truly recover?
There's a deluge of information about on this issue, painstaking provided by psychiatrists, therapists, spiritual healers and every day Joe's. Like all information, it's as relevant as you want to make it, but in the interests of learning from mistakes and moving forward with renewed spirit, we've uncovered five tips that might assist as you build a new philosophy around learning from failure.
1. Change your mentality
Instead of viewing failure as something to be avoided, turn it into a something you welcome. Think of it as a stepping stone on the path to success. If success is the destination then failure is how you get there.
2. Don't make failure your front story
After a massive failure you'll feel very low. By all means go to the pub and contemplate your position as you chat to friends about the pain and humiliation it may take some time, so give it plenty. But whatever you do, don't make it your ongoing front story. It's boring played infinitum but mostly, it's over. Make an effort to feel it and then move on, safe in the knowledge that this too will pass (or risk boring everyone you ever meet ever after).
3. Make an outrageously ambitious recovery plan
Make a ridiculously grandiose recovery plan. Show the world (and yourself) that you still have courage, spirit and fight. Never has the 'fake it till you make it' adage fitted so well. As long as you believe in something, you'll be okay.
4. Own your experience without bitterness and be clear on the lessons
If you really want to learn from failure this is important. Examine your failure until you are clear on what happened and why. Find the lessons and learn from your experience. Let go off bitterness or anger directed towards others. Even if you think someone else was the cause of the failure, let it go. At some point, you chose to engage with them and in that light, you are responsible for the outcome. Accept responsibility. Own the outcome.
5. Commit to helping others
In such a competitive world it's no wonder failure causes such extreme outcomes including depression, broken relationships, even suicide. Watch out for others caught in the downward spiral of perceived failure and throw them a lifeline. It may be a small loan, a regular pep talk or a place to live while they get back on their feet. By giving to others you'll make yourself a better person and the world a better place. Mostly, you'll be showing someone you believe in them (perhaps when they don't believe in themselves).