Sometimes we fail

Thoughts on failure and why it's important to learn from our mistakes because we all fail, but that doesn't have to be the end of the story.

There’s a scene from Batman Begins that keeps playing in my mind. A young Bruce Wayne falls into a well, is attacked by bats, and is eventually rescued by his father. When young Bruce is back home, his father says, “And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” It’s a powerful idea that is revisited later in the film as Batman struggles to save Gotham.

We all fall, even fictional super heroes, and that fall can feel like the worst failure of our lives.

Maybe it’s applying for a new job and not getting it.

Or, asking someone out and being told no.

Sometimes it’s starting your own business then watching it all fall apart.

It could even be moving to a new place then realizing that you are all alone.

Failure is like a waist line – it comes in all shapes and sizes, but nobody wants to talk about it. Yet, we all have a waist line, and we all experience failure.

For me, 2017 might as well be called the Year of No. There have been so many endings and false starts that there are times I’m not sure which way is up and how to keep going. While this year has brought me plenty of good things, it’s the failures that are shaping my life right now. I’m in that growing season.

And, as painful as the process is, I’m learning a lot about myself. When I was younger, it was easy to run away from my problems. I could drop a class, quit a job, or move to a new city, and poof, my problems would disappear. Life doesn’t work that way now.

At 32, I’m finally at a place in my life where I have to confront my problems and not move away from them. Nobody told me growing up would be so hard. Then again, nobody ever said life was easy.

We all fail, but that doesn't have to be the end of the story. It's how we get back up and carry on that matters.Click To Tweet

This year I’m working on redefining what failure means to me. It’s not easy to see mistakes and disappointments as learning opportunities, but that is what they are. I’m cutting back on the people and activities that no longer bring me joy, and sometimes it’s hard to say goodbye. But, if I’ve learned anything this year, it’s that life’s too short to let failure hold you back from your dreams.

How do you deal with failure?

P.S. If you like this post, you might enjoyย Momentum: How to Keep Going When Life Gets Ugly.

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  1. Awww, I love this. And can relate 100%.

    I’ve learned that saying NO often means saying YES to other things in life. And that it’s important to invest in relationships that bring us true joy and happiness, and to cut ties with anyone who fills our lives with toxicity, self-doubt, anger. Life is too short.

    It’s not always easy to bounce back from failure, but I think the most important lessons are buried deep within each of those experiences if we know where to look.

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  2. Oh girl I have been there! More times than I can count. And later I realize that it is ok that the universe said no in those moments because they led me to the really great yes moments that came later.

  3. So here’s my problem. I hate the idea that I can fail. Hate it, hate it, hate it. I do everything in my power to prevent it from happening and like to impose rules like “you can’t fail” on myself that I never impose on anyone else but myself. It’s so hard not to do!! It’s something I’m working on this year, too. Great post!

  4. Failure is hard. I hope 2018 is a more promising year for you and you learn how to combat or deal with the blows as they come. I always try to take it one day at a time or I try to think of where I could better use my time/self.


  5. I have failed a lot in the past few years. I used to feel so ashamed. But then I realized, eventually, that it was helping me to find the path that I’m supposed to be on. You’re so right that they are learning opportunities – but it’s just so hard to see that in the moment, I think. Love this reminder to keep pursuing your dreams!

  6. I’m sorry to hear this year has been kind of rough for you. I definitely said “YES” when you mentioned applying to jobs and not getting them. That’s the worst and I’m really trying to find a new, full-time job and it’s just rough. It sucks to not get it…it sucks not to even hear back…but I have to think something better is around the corner.
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  7. Ashley, I’m sorry you’re having a rough year but I’m glad you found the wisdom to view bad things as learning lessons. That’s what they are. I learned the key to success is perseverance — simply continuing to work and try. Failure is merely a step in the process, from which you can acquire knowledge. Life is hard, but when you ultimately succeed, it’s more satisfying for that struggle.
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  8. I’ve run into a lot of failures recently. It sucks but I have to say it’s made me a much stronger person. I hope it has the same effect on you my friend.

  9. I love this quote by JK Rowling:โ€œIt is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.”

  10. Oh dear…
    We all have been there, and the more you grow the more you question yourself, if you’re doing things right, and it;s like, no time to put everything in order,..
    I feel the same pretty often, but I think as long as you are are at peace and do everything you can, at least you say, I keep trying …then you can take a day at a time…and life will bring what you attract!

  11. To be honest I’m really bad at dealing with failure. I’m the type of person that shrinks into myself when I fail and thrive when I do well.

    Corinne x

  12. I am usually a ‘glass half full’-kinda person, but it’s never easy to accept failure. I usually try to focus on the positive (which I admit can be hard when there are a lot of “no’s” happening in rapid succession.

  13. Lovely post! Totally agree on cutting back on people and activities that don’t bring happiness. Your outlook is positive and I hope that the rest of 2017 gets better ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. Lovely post! Totally agree on cutting back on people and activities that don’t bring happiness. Your outlook is positive and I hope that the rest of 2017 gets better for you.

  15. Yes it is not easy, that is for sure. My whole life in way or another has been constant struggle and picking myself up. An unhappy childhood, a traumatic intro in to my teens with a severe illness in which I was hospitalized, and faced death multiple times to be left with chronic pain, and health problems which interferes with me leading a “normal” life. I tried running too, but unfortunately my body comes with me. Lived on the west coast, then after a decade back to east coast. And again I am thinking of moving. But I think to myself how often does a person have to reinvent themselves. Then I get tired…hahaha.

    Sorry to hear you are struggling but do your best to enjoy the moment, and yes let go of anything that drags you down. Life is too short, surround yourself with what you aspire to be.

    Allie of ALLIENYC