September 9, 2019
As I was thinking about what I would write about for this blog, I spent a lot of time thinking about failure as a whole – how I perceive my failures, how others perceive my failures, and how I work through those failures. When people say “Failure is the key to success” or some other overused buzzwords to make you feel good, I see that as an avenue for avoiding deeper issues while simultaneously simplifying a failure into a one-dimensional object. The truth is that failure is important, but failure is often dealt with on a surface level – and this happens with myself included. To really learn from a failure, we have to look at the failure as a whole. We can’t just see the mistake and say, “OK, I won’t do that anymore.” We have to ask ourselves what the mistake was and spend time dissecting why it happened.
The first part of learning from failure is recognizing that you will fail. This may seem obvious, but I have seen too many people who ignore their mistakes or underplay them. Avoiding failures and all the emotions and experiences within that can actually be quite unhealthy. Hillary Hendel from Time.com talks about the effects of suppressing our emotions. “Neuroscience suggests that the more emotions and conflicts a person experiences, the more anxiety they feel.” Again, this may seem obvious, but how many times have you avoided or denied an emotion you were feeling? Chances are you probably have already done it this week. This is because current culture reinforces this idea of blocking and avoiding emotions. In the hustle and bustle of adulting, people leave very little room (if any at all) to emotionally decompress. So, while what Hendel says may be obvious to us, most of us still emotionally avoid because of the culture we are in.
The second part to learning from failure is buying into failure. ‘What? Buying into failure?’ you may think. Yes, it seems illogical at first, but let me explain. For most of my life failure was a foreign field. I grew up with great opportunities and never had something that truly challenged me to the point of failure. Then, I came to Liberty, and the challenges I faced aren’t simple things that just require a little more effort. When I first got to Liberty I wasn’t the perfect person I thought I was, and I realized that failure is inevitable – at some point in time I would fall short of whatever the goal was. Yet, I avoided dealing with failure and instead decided to avoid dealing with my shortcomings. This only got me so far. About a year ago, I started to see challenges and issues in my life where avoiding and blocking wasn’t possible. I knew it was impossible to avoid failure forever. So, I decided to “buy in” so to speak. Instead of automatically avoiding every time I failed, I attempted to learn something from it – even if it was the smallest thing. I’m not saying I’m a guru in growing from my follies, but I am saying (as someone who’s had the Mr. Invincible mentality) we all have to learn to move past the fears of failure and dealing with it so we can truly grow.
Learning to truly grow from our failures is one of the biggest parts of life – especially when trying to walk with the Lord. We have to seize the moments as more than just a surface level growing area. We have to go deeper and really dig into our experiences to grow from them.
Written by: Andrew Reynolds
Andrew is a Senior Project Management Major, and enjoys writing for the blog because of the opportunity it gives him to grow as a writer and to challenge himself to see current topics and discussions from a view point he may not have otherwise thought about.