Forget Your Failures, Progress Is All That Matters

onlyprogressmattersFailure can be overwhelming. Even perceived failure can be.

I would know. I used to always make a big deal when I failed at something. Not always visibly, but I would always be affected in a major way. Lose all motivation, sometimes even my very will to live.

Earlier this year, I entered a Japanese speech contest for the first time ever. I had written the speech quite carefully, and practiced a fair amount. But I became insanely nervous. I was shaking. I had 3 major pauses and the overall presentation ended up being pretty terrible.

People who had nowhere near my experience ended up beating me, along with one of my seniors. I was devastated. I had been so emotionally invested in the idea of winning, that I ended up walking a 2 hour walk back to my cousin’s place in the cold. I felt numb. Worthless.

I felt like I always used to when I failed at something. I told myself: “It’s always like this.” “I always fail.” And completely disregarded the fact that I was willing, for once, to challenge myself. To try something new. The fact that I made some actual progress. And that’s perhaps the greatest mistake anyone can make.

Don’t allow failure to skew your perspective. Think of the failure as an isolated incident, unless there is a precedent of course, and any shortcomings on your part as completely fixable problems. Figure out what you could have done differently, take it to heart in your renewed efforts, and move on.  Continue reading