Why Failure Should Be Celebrated, Not Feared

When it comes to money troubles and dealing with debt, it’s scary stuff. I lived through it and will never forget how crappy that experience was.

But what I learned the hard way, and what I see every single day from watching others is the fear of failure attracts people to make the most illogical, dumbest, stupid mistakes because they are afraid to fail.

The fear of bankruptcy for example draws people to make other uneducated but oversold decisions to take alternative action. It is the fear of the bankruptcy that pushes people towards other illogical decisions that leave them in a worse spot.

Debt relief scammers are opportunists, not burglars. They take from people most often because people let them. They don’t break in, they just take the money that is handed them.

The video below was a great reminder that failure does not have to define you. And what really is failure? Does the fact you had financial problems make you a total failure even if you are loved by many? Can you be wealthy in friendship but poor in dollars? Is wealth only defined by money? I don’t think so.

Isn’t it possible to have not have an optimum result in one thing without letting it impact your entire life? The answer is, of course it is. But that doesn’t stop people from letting their financial problems drag their self-esteem and emotional well-being into the toilet.

Yesterday I was talking with some dear friends who have fallen on an unforeseen hard time. Their struggles don’t make me think any less of them. I see them in emotional pain, not as a human failure. They are just good people in a tough spot. They needed a hug, not a scolding.

If you’ve tried and failed. Get the hell back up and keep trying.

failure1Last weekend I was visiting a friend of a friend and the guy was living in a million dollar house in a million dollar neighborhood. He had talent that brought him that far. But three years ago he ran into hard times and essentially gave up. He has not made a mortgage payment since then, the home is being foreclosed, he’s struggling to pay the light bill, and overall his life is a mess. Without failure he motored on. Hit hit the moment of failure and gave up on life.

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The issue isn’t that he failed, it’s that he gave up trying. He’s so stuck in the emotional baggage of failure that he absolutely can’t move ahead with his life.

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Let failure be a speed bump, not an anchor.

Let’s say you are a farmer who has been raising crops for a number of years and this year you plant the crop as you always have and it does not rain as much as expected, does that make you a failure? Couldn’t it just be that it just didn’t rain as much as it should have?

Now change the farmer example to one where you did everything financially right in the past but for some unexplained reason you don’t have enough money coming in right now, sometimes it just happens. It does not make you a failure.

Looking back is easy, looking forward is always uncertain.

There are absolutes in the past. There are no absolutes in the future.

So you want to know what my strategy is for failure?

  1. I gave up caring what people think about me a long time ago. However they want to judge me, that’s on them. I can’t control their opinions, emotions, or attitudes. No matter what you do, 50% of the people are going to hate you anyway. If they hate me because I failed at something, so what.
  2. I try to always do good things. Even if I’ve failed it’s no reason I can hold a door or say thank you. Graciousness and appreciation go a long way to getting over a failure. And it just makes you a nicer person and helps you to live a life worth living.
  3. There is no sense wasting a perfectly good mistake. I try to learn as much as I can from a failure and use it as a teaching experience to help me moving forward. Hell, I paid for the failure, might as well get some benefit out of it.
  4. When I fail I take a day off and have a pity party and then get back to work.

Embrace failure. It can make you an even better person if you let it.

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Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.
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