Failure: Good or bad or Something Completely Different?

Failure: Good, Bad or Both?

Failure. No one wants to fail. But as human beings, we all make mistakes or come up short from time to time. We can fail in our relationships, jobs, and studies and even in our choices. The important question is not “Will we fail?” but “What will we do when we fail?” Will we be devastated or will we take this information in a different way?

Failure: A Big Learning Opportunity

Initially, out emotions and ego tell us that failure is a very bad thing. We are subtly trained in society to think of most things as being good or bad. Failure is bad. Or is it? Perhaps failure is more of a teacher or, at the very least, a bringer of new information. The key to getting a different perspective when we make a mistake or fail at something is to change the way we think about it.

Thinking in a Non-dual Way About Failure

We are conditioned to think of many things dualistically: right or wrong, good or bad, left or right. Now, for many things, this mode of thinking is essential. Take for example a red traffic light. It clearly is informing us that we need to stop, for our safety and that of others.

In life, however, there are many more complex experiences and interactions that are more profound than a red light. Human interactions, working on a major project at work, striving to complete a degree, bringing peace to a war-torn region are all examples where there may be more than a simple right or wrong answer. Often, a third way or different perspective can bring meaning and resolution

So, it can be with failure. Instead of looking at it as a bad thing, we can train our minds to observe it and learn from it. Then, it becomes neither bad nor good. It simply is. It is capable of teaching us and leading us to a different, often better, place.

Real-Life Example

Drug addiction is an example of a human activity that can lead to failure. Imagine a person who has used drugs for years and has strained his close relationships to the breaking point. Still, he hasn’t shaken away from the downward spiral of drug addiction. One day, he is pulled over by the police while driving and arrested. His initial reaction is that he is a total failure.
With the passage of time, however, he comes to realize that this is actually not true. He is indeed not a total failure. Yes, he is embarrassed and humiliated, but indeed, this may be the catalyst for change. The shock of his arrest, initially interpreted as a failure, can be the stimulus to seek drug counseling, sort out what is really important, and start anew. He was able to look at an apparent failure in a new and different way. Quite literally, he changes the way he was thinking. This new way of looking was the first step in his healing process. Addiction is serious. Overcoming it requires dedicated effort. Quality centers such as Sandy Rehab can be an important part of the journey to wholeness.