Updated: Apr 27
“I never lose, I either win or learn”, Nelson Mandela once said, and it really sounds so cocky but it is such a big truth. What is the point of suffering, agony or disappointment if we are not going to learn anything from it?
MAKES NO SENSE!
Lifetime’s biggest challenges are the most painful and they are also the most rewarding in the end. Instead of sweeping disappointment under a rug, we need to face it, accept it and most importantly, learn from it.
Sir Winston Churchill used to say that success is the ability to go from one failure to another without losing enthusiasm along the way. Thomas Edison, another great Man in history, used to say he had not failed, but found 10,000 ways why something he tried didn't work.... BRILLIANT!
Here is my formula:
TRY = FAIL + LEARN + TRY AGAIN = SUCCESS
Most of the time, the images we have of what learning means are full of optimistic and confident examples about what we learn from others. We find inspiration in reading chronicles from expert leaders and the autobiographies from the giants of our industry, and naturally try to retain as much of their tips and tricks as we can.
Because most of the time we look to the side at what others are doing or not doing, we are missing out on the biggest opportunity life gives us. The very principal source of learning: OURSELVES.
As we go about our life trying to avoid disappointment at all cost, we fail to realize that we may be missing out on the opportunity to grow and do majestic things.
We are sometimes so scared of failing, that we quickly step away from the door that is about to open right in front of us. If we want to grow, we must face fear in the eyes.
Ultimately, if we want to do amazing things in our lifetime, we must change our relationship with disappointment and the fear of losing.
Let me let you in on a little secret... the most challenging moments in my life have been those of most importance. When I look back, I realize there is so much I learned from all the challenges I faced. In reflection, I think to myself that if I wouldn't have faced those challenges head on, I would not be where I am today. I elaborate more on this subject on the anthology I participated in most recently called "Becoming an Unstoppable Woman", on my chapter called "Win or Learn!" (order at https://michele.sherisesstudios.com/)
As we confront something painful or difficult we react to it, and following that reaction there is always an outcome. Now, if we look at the outcome and are able to go back and analyze our reaction in a comprehensive way, we can learn what we could have done differently.
Most of the time, we cannot change the outcome but we can learn from the pain or disappointment such challenge has caused and become more resilient and prepared for the next challenge life throws at us.
Here are four ways in which we can learn from disappointment and "failure" (I quote this word, because I don't believe in failing, I believe in learning):
1. We gain a deeper level of understanding of ourselves. Why is self-awareness so important, you may ask? Here is why… when we have a better understanding of ourselves, we learn about our weaknesses. This gives way to discovering areas of opportunities. We also learn about our strengths, expertise and capabilities. We are then ready to experience ourselves in a totally new way and respect ourselves as unique individuals. We become empowered to make the adjustments we need to make to become a better version of ourselves.
2. We are able to realize there is major strength within us we didn’t even know we had. This in turn, allows us to build resilience. Resilience is “the ability to withstand adversity and bounce back from difficult life events”. Resilience is a vital skill in our lives because it provides us with the vigor we need to deal with and overcome adversity.
3. Disappointment forces us to grow and when we grow, we evolve.
4. We gain perspective. We realize who and what really matters, and when this happens, we are able to make adjustments. Everything in our life and our business boils down to perspective. To the way we face the challenge, disappointment or the failure.
The day we become aware of how failure, disappointment, pain, agony and suffering can teach us so many lessons, we grow. With this, we are able to fly and experience a whole new level of freedom. The same way we cannot have a rainbow without rain or butterflies without caterpillars, we should not have disappointment or failure without learning from it!
MICHÈLE C. KLINE