Failing is an inevitable part of human life. The more effective we are at learning from it and bouncing back better than we were before, the more successful we will be! Having a better understanding of failure can help us take a more objective, unemotional approach, and will help us recover quickly, taking as much positive as we can from the experience. Here are the four main types of failure and how you can learn from them.
Abject failure is often the most personally difficult type of failure. This type is defined as the loss of something that feels essential. Examples of abject failure could be a loss of health due to a new diagnosis, loss of livelihood, or loss of trust in a loved one.
When health declines, it can be very difficult to cope with the loss of freedom experienced before this new health development. You must reconcile with your delicate, human state, and it may even require you to define a new “normal.” The more adaptable we are, the better we will cope with this type of failure.
Losing a job or losing your trust in someone who is close to you can both be redefining moments as well. Our source of income and our close relationships with friends and family are both components that feel vital to our success and, at times, even our survival. What is important when we lose these things is minimizing the amount of time spent focusing on the loss, and maximizing our action to move forward. Whether that means looking for a new job or income source or working to reconcile the relationship that has been damaged, these are productive actions and will define how we deal with hardships in the future.
This type of failure is what might be considered the “big” failures of one’s life. This is when you give an endeavor your absolute all, and yet you fail miserably. You fail hard and fast in a big, glorious, capital F failure. These can feel devastating and like something from which you may never recover, but the good news is, these are often the most productive kinds of failures! These are the kinds of failures that build strong character, tough skin, and resilience beyond a doubt. The lessons learned from glorious failures are ones that will inevitably produce growth in your life if you allow it.
Common failures are what they sound like – the smaller failures that happen in everyday life. None of us are perfect, so these are bound to happen. Things like forgetting about an appointment you scheduled, packing the wrong pair of pants for your weekend trip, or missing a friend’s birthday because you were so busy. These are little mistakes we make because we are human. They happen often, and they are bound to happen again. Self-forgiveness is what you need to take away from these types of failures. You aren’t perfect, and you never will be!
4. Predicted Failure
Have you ever completely expected to fail at something? This is more common than you may think and even constitutes a type of failure called Predicted Failure. Think of this as a beta test of something you are trying out. People with lots of goals and ideas will experience this type of failure often. It is essential to the refining process of new creations, systems, and processes. What matters in predicted failures is what you do with them. Treat them as data and respond accordingly to improve upon your projects, yourself, and your ability to adapt.