If I asked you to help me understand either what a pen is or what failure is, it would be much easier for you to teach me about the pen.
The pen is a concrete object. You could simply pick one up, show it to me, show me how to use it and now I know. Failure, on the other hand, is an abstract thing. It’s a construct. You can’t just reach over and pass me the failure. “Failure” is an idea. It’s a label that we agree refers to the circumstance when you do not get what you attempted. And the majority of times it’s used in a rather negative context.
When you examine human peak performance, it is universally agreed upon that we are at our best when we feel our best. So, believing that we’ve failed results in low-grade states of mind, which lead to low-grade behaviors, which lead to undesirable results. It’s a downward spiral and it’s unintelligent. And it’s a choice.
What happens if you choose to no longer believe (which, of course, you reserve the right to do – choose ALL of your beliefs) in the construct of “failure”? What if, instead, you replace that with “results”? The new mantra would be, “There is no such thing as failure. There are only results.” And you could know that sometimes the results are as you wanted them to be and sometimes they aren’t. Simple as that.
What would be different would be your ability to self assess without the interference of debilitating emotion. You could be the curious, light-hearted examiner and look at your results with creative interest.
You would explore both the desired and undesired results with equal levels of enthusiasm and simply ask the question, “What’s the learning here?”