Failure is often interlinked with motivation. Although, the link drawn is usually a negative one, in which failure is perceived to lead to a decline in motivation, opposed to an increase. It can also be said that those who are highly motivated, experience failure more often as they are consistently testing their boundaries and trying new things. However, most people are afraid of failure. So afraid that it inhibits them from attempting new methods of working in case the potential failure causes embarrassment or upset. It is worth noting how important failure is on the path to success. Everyone who has ever truly succeeded has overcome hurdles and pushed through times of difficulty. Failure motivates them to keep going, to keep getting better. Our Productivity Ninjas encourage this constant commitment in every aspect of our clients lives. Finding ways to become more productive and more effective at performing certain tasks, despite failure, means you are more likely to achieve your end goal quicker.
When we decide to pursue something in life, a goal in which we wish to attain, failure and the fear that derives from it, is virtually unavoidable. Therefore, two approaches can be taken. Either you can let fear of failure prevent you from reaching your goals or you can harness that failure as a tool for motivation.
Learning from failure
We are told early on in life to learn from our mistakes. Something which is often forgotten as we get older and start attempting more challenging tasks. It cannot be denied that failure shapes us. It changes our attitude and offers a platform for us to move from. The most influential factor however, is if we move up or down. If we progress further or allow failure (or the fear of) to inhibit our potential. In both business and life, mistakes are inevitable. We are guaranteed to fail at certain points, yet our ability to reach that end goal depends on what we learn. Franklin D Roosevelt stated that ‘a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor’. A phrase you have most likely heard before due to it echoing the importance of learning from times of hardship.
A matter of perspective
Motivation and the level which we have on any given day can be influenced by two main, interlinking factors. The environment around us and the perspective we have of it. Despite the two factors affecting one another, it should not be forgotten that you can only truly control the latter. The perspective we have on a situation, the mentality and mood in which we go about performing a task is ultimately, down to us, the individual. However, the environmental factors, the situations that present themselves to us are external and cannot usually be controlled. Therefore, even if failure occurs in an external circumstance, you can remain motivated through an intrinsic perspective. By having the approach to learn from the failure, to push through it and perform the task differently or more effectively, success can be achieved despite the adversity.
Let us take an aspiring writer as an example of this. The writer has been working hard on his/her first book, one in which the publisher and his/herself believe, will be very successful. The person has overcome the hardships of writing a first book, from the long hours, the infuriating periods of writer’s block to the meeting of strict deadlines. They persevered and worked through these moments, learning from each one. Suddenly the publisher goes bust and drops the contract weeks before the books release. This presents the external failure that influences part of the writer’s motivation. Although, despite the failure, the writer believes the book will be a success and so continues to self-publish the book.
Taking a step back
When discussing perspective, it can sometimes become difficult to independently evaluate our progress. We can become so focused on the task at hand, the goal we are trying to achieve and even the mistakes being made, that we lose focus on the long-term improvement. It’s important to take a step back and to realize the changes throughout our life, or throughout the span of the project. Despite the possible present failure or difficulty, remember the significance of the developments made.
Taking the above example of the writer, the moment of the greatest difficulty was the loss of the publisher and essentially, the support of the book. Although, taking a step back, they realized the lengths they had gone to create such a piece of work and how close it was to becoming reality. With that in mind, the writer was motivated to achieve his/her goal, despite the big issue.
Failure surrounds us, stemming from the smallest mistakes to the life and career altering moments. That’s not to sound pessimistic, it is rather to state the endless possibilities for independent learning. We are surrounded by moments and every moment of ‘failure’ should be considered a lesson, a way in which you can do something better. A moment which can motivate you to perform at your best, knowing that through the adversity is the achievement of your end goal.
As leaders in productivity training we are here to help you manage your tasks more effectively, and more efficiently. If you are facing difficult times and are interested in how you can do things differently, why not see if our facilitation training can help?
Do you believe failure can be used as a tool for motivation? Let us know in the comment box below or tweet us @thinkproductive
By Miles Singleton
Miles is Think Productive’s Editorial Content Producer.