Are you celebrating failure?
Nowadays, there is so much content out there that suggests that we should celebrate failure and mistakes. The only way to learn is to fail. Even I often say "Every mistake is a little present to your future self."
But making a mistake is only half the story. It doesn't mean that it's all you have to do to have everything falling into place and sorts itself out. Failing on its own is not easy. It takes effort to push yourself out of your comfort zone so far that failing is inevitable.
How often do you push yourself out of your comfort zone?
If we are willing to leave our comfort zone and face challenges that will make us grow, we will fail at first. The emphasis is on "at first". Because often enough we try once. We fail. And we tell ourselves: "Well, I tried. And then I failed. That was no fun. I don't like feeling like a failure. So I will avoid that feeling by not trying again."
Needless to say, celebrating failures is pretty hard. It just doesn't feel good when we fail. And just because some enlightened people tell us to celebrate our mistakes, it doesn't make it any easier.
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The nasty stories we tell ourselves
Storylines like "I'm such an idiot. Why does this always happen to me." are the ones that distract us from the essence of what's really going on. They distract us from realizing we just grew by expanding our comfort zone just a little bit.
Instead we get tense and shame ourselves: "There I go again. I knew I wasn't cut out from this." Or even worse we look for someone or something else to blame. What we should be doing is being grateful for even noticing we failed.
Let me give you an example that I'm sure you can relate to. Have you ever read a word that you haven't heard before? In your head you come up with a way of pronouncing it and never question it until... You hear someone else use it, pronouncing it correctly. One possible reaction would be feeling really stupid to have pronounced this word wrong all that time. Thinking back to every instance we failed to pronounce it correctly and shaming ourselves for having known better. Or we can embrace the lesson and add it to our repertoire of funny stories to tell our friends.
You were lost, now you're found
Here is the thing. Realizing that you failed is what gets you back on track. With a wrongly pronounced word the damage is quite negligible. When the failure occurred with something that has a big impact on your life it's a completely different story. You should be happy to be aware of your mistake, so you can correct it.
Think of it like this: Whatever makes you fail (lack of focus, bad decision making, etc.) is similar to the weights a bodybuilder uses in the gym. You don't want to train with feathers. You want something heavy. Something that lets you advance noticeably. Nothing is more dissatisfying than putting time into your passion and not seeing progress.
Ultimately, it's not failure that lets us grow. We learn the lesson by firstly realizing that we are failing, and secondly by understanding the reason why. It's a tiny shift in perception, but it can make all the difference. If we celebrate that we realized we were wrong and now are given the opportunity to change our course, it feels like something worth celebrating. It literally is a success.
Disclaimer: I reckon that most people talking about "celebrating mistakes" mean exactly this. But I never heard anyone put it this way. I really hope that this little change of perspective can do something for you.
Keep on pushing beyond your comfort zone!
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