I feel like I’ve been failing a lot lately. I was taking an accounting class that I late dropped because I wasn’t understanding the material. I’ve been horrible about getting the Moneywise Tip out regularly. My house needs to be cleaned. My laundry needs to be put away. My front porch needs repair work. Everywhere I turn I see my face on a big pile of failure.
To some people this might be the worst feeling in the world. But I like to think of failure as an opportunity to learn and grow. Failures are some of the best learning moments in life. It’s so much easier to learn from a failure than from a success. You can usually see pretty clearly where you went wrong. Why wasn’t I doing well in my accounting class? I didn’t enjoy it because it focused too much on something I don’t care about at all (I wanted to learn federal tax for individuals….not for businesses). Why have I been bad about the Moneywise Tip? I haven’t been assigning it a high enough priority…which is a mistake. Why is my house a mess? I need incentive (like a soon-to-be-erected Christmas tree!) to inspire me to clean. Why is my laundry all over the guest bed? Apparently, I haven’t found the obstacle of finding something to wear from the giant pile to be great enough (but it’ll be there very soon!). And I’m sure as soon as I hurt myself on the front porch, I’ll get it fixed. Failures make the answers so easy to find.
The important thing about dealing with failure is not to wallow in it, but rather to pivot toward something that works better. Find the teaching point and learn from it. When you overdraw your checking account, you have to look into why it happened so you don’t let it happen again. When you can’t pay all of your bills with the funds you have available, you have to examine your budget to see where you spent too much. When you apply for a credit card and you get denied, you have to look at your credit report to see what is wrong (and whether that’s even something you did, or just a credit report error). You can’t wallow in it. It’s important to keep moving ahead…even if that means you are moving in a direction you didn’t originally plan for.
Failure can feel terrible. But it’s also one of the best teachers in the world.