Overcoming Failure: It’s What You Do With It That Matters

Young blind man sitting and smiling at the camera

I tend to look at everything in my life as black or white, a success or a failure. If I accomplish my goals, I am on top of the world. I feel empowered, self-confident, and ready to take on anything. But when I don’t succeed, I feel overwhelmingly disappointed in myself. I convince myself that I will never succeed. I tell myself that I am not good enough or smart enough to accomplish my goals.

Some might say I don’t cut myself enough slack, and my blood pressure would agree with them, but it is hard to pull yourself out of that cycle. It is difficult to tell yourself that this one failure does not determine who you are or your self-worth. It is a constant struggle that I am trying to overcome.

But someone very special to me has really started to alter my perception of failure. He once told me something along the lines of, “It is not about whether you fail, but what you do with that failure to make yourself better. You only ever fail if you don’t learn anything or do anything to improve from it.”

I can read self-improvement blogs right and left, but if I never change my mindset, nothing will help me improve my failures. I have to tell myself that although I didn’t get the position this time, it does not mean I failed. It does not mean that I will always fail. I have to own my mistakes, make adjustments to succeed in the future, and not let this one experience bring me down or taint my self-image.

I have to remember that I am a work-in-progress. I have to focus on my strengths and sharpen my weaknesses. I have to be self-aware to own who I am as a person and try, try, and try again until I succeed.

Out of all the inspirational stories you might read, you rarely think about how many times that outstanding individual failed to reach his or her end goal. You don’t focus on the trials that individual when through to overcome his or her disadvantage to be the world’s best this or the greatest that. You can’t compare someone else’s experiences or successes to your own.

So I guess what I am trying to say is that I will not always succeed. I am not at the peak of my career telling you how things will get better. I am right there with you trying to make a life for myself. We have to encourage one another, seek the assistance and guidance we need, and strive for success until we get it.

If you are struggling with self-confidence, I encourage you read “Self-Confidence: How it Increases Your Employability” or “Self-Confidence Part 2: How to Foster it as a Person who is Blind or Visually Impaired.” While I might not have the best advice to boost your self-esteem, Shannon has the know how to get you rallied up!

And if you are struggling with a new self-image, Joe Strechay’s “I Am, I Have, and I Will: A Message to Youth who are Blind or Visually Impaired” might just be what you need to succeed!