Failure is something that everyone comes in contact with at least once in their life. The word failure is primarily associated with negative connotations, though put in a new perspective, failure can be seen as an opportunity to grow. During college, failure is inevitable, but using it to reflect and re-evaluate can ultimately lead to success. There are a few things that can help shift perspective around failure:
- Detaching self worth from success
It’s easy to become overly self-critical, especially as college students strive for high grades and extracurricular accomplishments. Working towards detaching your self worth from success can set you up for more growth towards your goals. Once you realize that the outcome of an event isn’t correlated with the image of yourself, it can become easier to accept failure and use it as building blocks to more progress. One mistake doesn’t define who you are as a person, even if it seems that way in the moment. If you feel failure taking over your self worth, remember all of the amazing accomplishments you have already achieved.
- Focusing on what you CAN control
Separate between what you can and can’t control. What you can’t control is out of your power, so focus on what you CAN control. You can’t influence outside factors, but what’s in your control can be changed for the better.
- Finding the cause of failure and own your mistakes
The first step in transitioning from failure to growth is identifying the cause of failure. The best way to learn from failure is to own your mistakes. If you can accept what went wrong and analyze it, there’s a better chance that you can grow from a mistake instead of denying that something went wrong.
- Using failure as an opportunity to grow
Instead of viewing failure as defeat, use it as an opportunity to reflect on what you could change in order to try again. After detaching your self worth, focusing on what you can control, and owning your mistakes, you can separate failure from its negative connotations. Failure can teach us what doesn’t work, and sometimes how you can fix a situation.
College is a time for exploration and discovery filled with various successes and failures. It’s important to remember that it’s OK to fail!
What’s the absolute worst that could happen? And how could you handle that situation if you do fail? Most times, when putting the absolute worst into perspective, you can realize that the outcome of failure is reasonable, but heightened by anxiety.
It’s easier said than done, but overcoming a fear of failure and taking full advantage of each outcome of opportunities can set a strong foundation for future growth!