Resilience and endurance. I am writing this post for anyone who has failed and doesn't feel like getting back up. I'm sure by now most of us have heard someone say, "failure isn't the end unless we allow it to be." Something in that statement stings. Something in that statement sounds like it's saying "you getting knocked down is your fault". That is not true. Getting knocked down may not be our fault but what we do about it is our choice.
The reason influential people talk about failure or indeed why we hear so much about the importance of overcoming failure is because pushing past our failures will bring us closer to success.
It's easy to become complacent when you haven't faced hardships. Why would you break outside of your comfort zone when it is just that? Comfortable. Personally, I think the concept of a comfort zone has been ill-represented. It would be better described as a zone of normality. For some this place is comfortable, all your needs are taken care of and you need not worry about the future. For others, your zone of normality is not so comfortable, maybe it contains hurts, failures or disappointments but it is what we are used to and so we stay there.
This can lead us to become tolerant of failure, accepting that certain spheres are not for us because we have failed in them before, that is just what we are used to. However, was it not people who failed hard (and a lot) who have the greatest stories of success? I believe it is because they did not let failure become their comfort zone. Their dreams weren't silenced by disappointment. They allowed their trials to cultivate hope inside them which actually pushed them towards their dreams. This is what we can all recognise as; the strength to keep going despite fatigue or difficulty. It's not easy, by design it is difficult, but it is so worth it.
“We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope.”
We have to evaluate how we view life. It seems completely ridiculous to rejoice when we run into problems, but maybe it's time for a paradigm shift. The ability to see a trial as an opportunity takes a 180-degree turn in how we view disappointments or failures. We need to view life as a constant opportunity for growth.
My stumbling block is that I honestly believe that at some point I will feel like I have "arrived". I will have "made it" and suddenly life will become much smoother and easier. There will be no more life lessons for me to learn for I will have learned them all. Ha. Life is far more relentless than that. There is always something to learn and allowing ourselves to view life as a constant learning ground takes some of the sting out of our failures. Failures are an opportunity to grow and get stronger for battles ahead.
"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved." - Helen Keller
Hear me correctly, we must take the time to deal with our disappointments/failures/hurts and acknowledge they have happened. By ignoring our emotions we store up a pile of hurt that will erupt on some unsuspecting recipient. However, we can and should resolve to get back up and keep moving forward. We should aspire to be
Being resilient doesn't mean we won't get knocked down again, but as we build strength from our failures we will spring back faster and stronger ready to get up and go again. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison for fighting for a worthy cause. I can imagine there were moments where he honestly felt like giving up on his dreams. His prison cell was a constant reminder of something he failed at. However, I believe it was the strength of his character that allowed his hope to not be swayed by the daily reminder of his shortcomings. He kept hoping and believing that he would one day live in a better zone of normality, an apartheid-free South-Africa. Not only did he achieve that dream, but he was the president there too.
So, what does that mean for us? We are likely to fail. There will be situations in life that turn out not as we hope. When those times come and we get knocked down, let's get back up. Let's fix our minds on the goals ahead of us and do the hard work of enduring, instead of focusing on our setbacks. Let's persevere in fighting for the things we consider important and to build the resilience and the strength of character to keep on keeping on. It might not be easy, but it'll be worth it.