10 Things I’ve Learned from Failure and Adversity

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. ~ Buddha

In the past six (6) months, I took three different professional (3) examinations, and fortunately, I’ve passed them all. After I’ve passed the third (3) examination, I’ve suddenly realized that I took and passed them all in the same year, when probably, in the past, I would have been really conservative or fearful, and take one (1) exam per year instead of taking it all once in six (6) months. And why would I delay it? Because of fear, the fear of failure and adversity.

Failure and adversity, admittedly, still keeps me awake at night. Often, the fear of failure and adversity causes my inaction, to choose what safe and less risky. Fear of failure and adversity also causes me to be too controlling, the tendency to distrust other people. What I’ve noticed is that fear of failure and adversity results to lack of progress in what I do, distrust and unhealthy relationship.

Taking and passing the three (3) professional exams happened because I didn’t fear failing it. I just took the exam and did my best. My thoughts during the examinations were if I pass, it will be great, yet if I fail, its ok, what’s important is the learning and experience.

Passing the three (3) professional examination in six (6) months reminded me the freedom and growth you get when you don’t fear failure and adversity.

I’ve had my shares of failures and adversities, such as failure in career/business decisions and failure in relationship. What I’ve learned from such experience of failures and adversities were the following:

  1. When you fail, you get stronger

Because when you’re at the rock bottom, there’s nowhere else to go but back up.  At the bottom, you have nothing else but bravery and strength to get back up, keep moving forward.

  1. When you fail, you mature in life

Failure tests your emotion and maturity. Once you overcome and able to control such emotion, you become more mature in life.

  1. When you fail, you become resilient

If taken in a positive context, failure helps in developing resilience: the ability to spring back after bending. When others will become demotivated and succumb to the negative, strive to show resilience during failure and adversity. When I was going through rock bottom, I kept playing the song of Aliyah “Try Again.” The line, “If at first you don’t succeed, you can dust it off and try again.”, the song always keeps me positive in times of failure and adversity.

  1. When you fail, you develop patience

I was raised in an environment where I always get what I want. You can say I was a bit pampered. That’s why when I’ve experienced failure and adversity in my 20’s, it caught me off guard and had really difficult time dealing with it. But what I’ve learned from such experience was patience. That you don’t always get what you want, and that’s okay. Have patience during those days and aspire for a better day. In times of failure and adversity, remember the saying, this too shall pass.

  1. When you fail, you become fearless

Personally, the more I fail, the more I become fearless. It’s like I get immune to it that my fear decreases. Being fearless helps in taking more risk, and experience more things in life.

  1. When you fail, you learn to survive then thrive even on your own

In failure and adversity, I get to realized that I was born alone, and I will probably die alone. That I should learn not to depend too much on other people, instead, learn to survive and thrive alone. Cause the more you are comfortable being alone, the better you can be with or without other people.

  1. When you fail, you become humble

Another realization I had in experiencing failure and adversity is humility. Because in times of failure, you’ll be judged. And if you’re egoistic, you tend to fight back. Yet if you are humble, you listen, take the lesson and go on with life with a better version of you.

  1. When you fail, you learn to listen on your inner-self

One thing I’ve learned after experiencing failure is to take a step back, find a quiet place to be alone, meditate and reflect. I once took a bus alone to Baguio to do this. And when I did that, I’ve experienced calmness and was able to think clearly without the opinion of other people. That for me was one of the liberating experience in my life.

  1. When you fail, you learn to differentiate people

I have experienced a time when I failed, people around me are the first to judge and walk away from me. This is why I learned thru failure that your true friends are only few despite how many people you surround yourself with. And often, true friends come out in your difficult times. Failure helped me differentiate people and learn to keep only few people to trust.

  1. When you fail, you become closer to growth and success

There’s a saying, the more you fail the closer you are to success. I realized it’s because you have already eliminated the one thing that’s keeping you away from success, and that’s your own limiting belief or thoughts. Your fears that keep you away from taking action.

I hope this article has been helpful for you and gave you a little confidence to face and overcome failure. As a final note, let me leave you this thought from Emma Watson:

There’s nothing wrong with being afraid. It’s not the absence of fear, it’s overcoming it. Sometimes you’ve got to blast through and have faith.

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