Beautiful Landscape

7 ways to keep moving forward when you feel like a failure.

Updated: Mar 9

The year was 2020; I looked inwards and wondered where I got it all wrong. I mean, it’s been four years, there was no sign of my life getting better or progressing. That was what I thought until I started moving, in less than a year, things had taken a drastic turn. I didn’t get the overall turnaround that I needed, I however moved from the point of being a total failure to where I had no fear of what the future holds for me.

This picture depicts a man going forward on what is a seemingly lonely road
Photo by hanya kumuh on Unsplash

The sleepless nights of tossing and turning on my bed, the questions I used to ask, all changed. Now, if I’m not sleeping, I’m working or studying and if I’m looking for answers, I base them on self-improvement. These are the discoveries I made when I felt like a failure and they somehow helped me forge ahead despite these feelings.

I know you might have asked yourself severally, how do I live in this seeming unending cycle of stagnancy? What do I do?

Most of the time, we don’t even realise the standstill is our training ground, that it’s our opportunity to learn and add so much value to ourselves until it’s too late. And that is why we must not waste any free moment we have, as they say “when life throws a lemon at you, make some delightful lemonade.”

So! How do you keep moving even when you feel like a failure?

1. Imagine your future: one of the greatest gifts we have as human beings is the ability to imagine anything. While our realities may not necessarily turn out as we imagined, it gives us the power to create what we need and work towards it. You need to see what you want for you to experience the drive to obtain it. If you cannot conceive of it at all, how do you intend to accomplish it? Success comes from the mind and that’s the start.

2. Think positively: I know this word is a cliche, and you have heard it often. However, the reality of this statement cannot be over-emphasised. If your imagination creates a world of possibility, won’t you need a good mindset to set it in motion? You would need to believe that it is possible for you to even get it started. Being positive about achieving something is exactly how things get done.

3. Be deliberate: I love this word so much, it sets the ball rolling for me whenever I’m about to do something. Whenever I decide to start on a project, I have to take all the steps to make sure that the project is achieved. Do I want a job? I have to reach out to the job owner. I want my relationship to be great. I have to give my full commitment. Things done without putting your full self into it will most definitely flop. we don’t want that. Whatever steps you decide to take, you think about it and be sure it is the step you want to take.

4. Understand yourself: the pertinent question to ask yourself is, why have you been failing or why did you fail? Is the laxity on your part? Did you make the wrong decisions? Did you involve the wrong people? Did you go about it the wrong way? Were you too slow? Did you procrastinate a lot? When you find the source of the problem, you can easily tackle it. You must admit to yourself that you have done it wrong and now find how you can make it right. Accepting failure comes from understanding yourself and how you went about it.

5. Go and learn more: it’s in the time of failure that you discover what you have been doing wrong. What then do you do? you add more to your knowledge. You learn new things, you relearn old things and unlearn irrelevant things (not like you can unlearn things, you just drop them). Learning opens your eyes to what you didn’t even know was there. So instead of just sitting there and beating yourself up over your failures, search for knowledge, what you can do to make better choices and move forward.

6. Keep relationships: a major reflection of failure is loneliness and loneliness comes when we don’t have relationships with people. I am not saying that we fail because we do not keep relationships, I say not having relationships reflects our failures to us because we feel all alone. It doesn’t mean they have to be your best friend or you hang out every time.

They just have to be people you have not burnt bridges with, people who owe you favours, people you know will still be instrumental to you in the long run. You don’t have to talk to them every time, a check-up once in while, little interactions here and there, when they ask for something and it’s in your capacity you do them. These things keep relationships going even without you trying too hard.

7. Go for what you need: this is more like being deliberate, however, you go out of your way to make things happen for yourself. You approach people, you ask questions, you get curious and take steps. You keep trying and then try some more. Set your plans in motion, connect with people who have the skills you need. Go for it, failure is not a fatality. the world didn’t get to where it is by people accepting failure. We don’t grow by resigning to failure, we grow by trying again.

In all of this, every failure is a stepping stone and you must learn to appreciate the lessons of failure. Don’t ever give up, in a world of possibilities.

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