Why You Should Embrace Failure If You Want to Feel the Meaning of Life

When you run from failures, you run from opportunities.

embrace failure, because you have many opportunities to try

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One day changed my life forever.

“Every man has two lives, and the second starts when he realizes he has just one.”

— Confucius

It was the day when I decided to get sober. Suddenly I realized what Confucius meant. My second life started.

Up to that point, I did everything to avoid failing.

And when I failed, I blamed the world. I was sure life was meaningless, and nothing could convince me otherwise. It was my personal hell.

Today, after three years, I live a life I never thought was possible:

A life full of meaning.

I vaguely remember that my best days then pale compared to my worst days now. Simply put, justified suffering is better than unjustified joy. And when I avoided failure, I had no justification for my existence.

The way out was, as Jung predicted, in a place I never wanted to look:

In facing the challenges of life, exposing myself to failure and opportunity.

What Is The Meaning of Life

I’ve spent countless hours trying to find one.

I looked outside, never to find anything. It seemed like life was meaningless. Everything exists for no reason, so trying and doing anything is pointless. After chasing what people were chasing: status and good looks, I came to this conclusion.

Never I felt fulfilled when I got that new shiny thing.

By pure luck, I had a job that required me to evolve. And when I worked, I felt differently. It made sense to fix problems.

After years I think of meaning as a feeling that appears when I work on what I want.

Wanting is not the best word. It’s about deciding what I’ll do next. Meaning is as tangible as joy or pain. It’s in me.

It’s unbreakably connected with my life goals.

And when I pursue becoming a better person, I feel that meaning. When I focus on developing my skills to face the unknown and share my experiences, I feel that meaning.

The meaning of life is doing what you’ve decided to do. It’s a fact that you have a way of influencing this unknown reality to shape it so it sustains you.

Stop Killing The Dream

I get now that I killed my dreams because I wanted to be safe.

The problem with safety is that it inhibits progress and learning. You’re 100% safe when you’re dead. Safety means order, and if there is only order, there is nothing new. Nothing new makes life’s pain unbearable because there is no hope for a better tomorrow.

For years I imagined failing as death, without a way to recover.

But I never died to this point. This may happen, but probably not due to fulfilling my dream of writing. Usually, I feared rejection. But people are not interested in my failures. They’re focused on theirs.

Like I once was.

Also, I learned that failures are what make us closer to each other. We feel the pain of others who came through similar challenges. We understand them, and they understand us.

So, stop killing your dreams; work on bringing them to life.

There is this story about a religious man on top of a roof during a great flood. A man comes by in a boat and says, “Get in, get in!” The religious man replies, “, No, I have faith in God; he will grant me a miracle.”

And you know what? He died.

Because the help came in the form of opportunity, not a miraculous divine intervention. And that’s what you should count on. Believe that when you have a dream that aligns with you, you’ll have the right opportunities to make it happen.

Failure Is Not Bad

The reason why I was so scared of failure was my assumptions.

I attached my self-worth to the fact of being right. So failure meant I was worthless. Thinking of exposing myself as a fraud terrified me. It created immense pressure always to be right. And that pushed me to avoid failing.

When I failed big by binge drinking for months, I couldn’t admit it.

In my head, I repeated that all people drink. It’s a pandemic; people need to blow off the steam. I got a priceless lesson. Because I treated failure as wrong, I lied to myself to stay right instead of being happy and healthy.

I could’ve gotten sober sooner if I could see the information underneath my failure.

Much later, when I started learning to live, I understood all learning is through feedback. It can be no positive or negative. To have an opportunity to learn, I have to expose myself to possible failures. To learn, I must face new things, and because I don’t know them, failing is inevitable at some point.

In the end, all the failure means is this:

You drew a map in your head, and you got lost when you used it to navigate through life.

You failed, and because you know it, you can look for a new path. The lost way is, at the same time, an opportunity to find a new one.

It’s Inevitable

My rule for life is never to resist reality.

And the reality of our lives is that no one is perfect. Although I can’t be sure about everyone, I’m sure about myself. The world is complex. The number of connections between ideas or people looks infinite.

To spice things up, the same idea that helped you in one context may be dangerous in another, and sometimes it’s impossible to predict.

In such a world, failures are a part of being. The subset of reality we pay attention to is forever smaller than the whole. Resisting that fact made me delusional.

I thought I knew everything, but what I knew gave me pain.

Accepting that I can be wrong and that failure is impossible to avoid set me free.

Embrace vs. Run

I’m all for embracing failures.

With an approach that accepts failure as a first-class citizen, you increase your chances for success. The cost of trying becomes so low it’s unreasonable not to. Not when the potential success awaits. And each failure builds your resilience, so the next ones become easier.

In opposition to that happy place, with milk and honey, there is a domain of never-ending running from failure.

When you run from them, you run from opportunities. You avoid exposing yourself to challenges as they show up. But ignoring them doesn’t make them go away. No. They keep growing, under your nose, without you being able to see them. And one day, when you least expect it, they’ll devour you. Because you had no training in dealing with challenges.

I was running away because I thought I couldn’t fail if I won’t try.

The reality was that because I was running, I had already failed. Without any chance of success.

I learned that facing the dragons is possible when they’re your size. Big ones can swallow you. There might be no recovery from that. Exposing to failure is, at the same time exposing to success. You never know what happens next.

Be scared and do what you decide to do.

Easier Said Than Done Here is What I Do

It boils down to accepting the state of things.

You’ll fail at some point. All people did. When you look into their stories, you’ll find out that there are many failures behind every success. The goal should be not to avoid failing but to continue after you fail.

The big help in staying on your feet when life hits hard is following your direction.

To find your way during the storm, you must have clear goals and values. They’ll serve as a lighthouse. Each storm you survive doing the tasks you’ve chosen justifies your existence. The ability to withstand the shortness of life comes from acting out your plans to fulfill your goals.

So, dare to see how far you can get, with fear sitting on your shoulder, whispering to you never to try.

Do you sometimes wonder how your life would look if you could get what you wanted?

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