Failure has a negative stigma attached to it. Nobody enjoys failure. Most people avoid it like a plague.
In fact, the only thing worse than being labeled a failure is experiencing a series of failures. Enough failures strung together in a short period of time is often more than enough to convince most people to quit an activity.
But I have good news. You are the only person tracking your failures. Think about it. Nobody in the world has enough time to keep track of all the failures you experience over the course of a week or a month or a year. Someone close to you might notice you fail at something occasionally but they can’t possibly know exactly how many times you have failed. More importantly, said person has their own failures to worry about as opposed to thinking about yours.
Consider a superstar high school student who applies to 10 different elite universities and only gets accepted to one. From their perspective they failed nine times and succeeded only once. But from the perspective of everyone else all they know is that the student got accepted into an elite university. Only the student herself could possibly track her failures.
Or consider the superstar college graduate who interviews with 10 different elite companies and only gets an offer from one. From their point of view, they know they failed nine of the interviews and only got an offer from one. But from the perspective of outsiders all they know is that the college grad got an offer from an elite company.
So what does this mean? It means that no one on earth is aware of all the failures you have experienced (nor do they probably care to know). So if you feel like you are a ‘failure’ just know that you are solely responsible for giving yourself that label. Nobody else can label you as a failure. Only you can label yourself as one since only you are aware of how many times you have actually failed.
To the employee who has asked for a raise at his past three jobs and been denied all three times – ask for a raise at your current job. Your current manager isn’t aware of your past unsuccessful attempts at getting a raise.
To the college grad who has been denied by 10 different companies – apply at yet another company. They aren’t aware of all the times you have been denied.
To the single guy that has been turned down by 5 girls in a row – ask another one out. She isn’t aware of the other girls that have turned you down.
The point I’m trying to make is that despite how many failures you have experienced, you are not a failure until you have decided to call yourself one. Only you are capable of being held back by your past failures. The rest of the world is not aware of them.
So don’t stop seeking progress and improvement because you are afraid of failing yet again. Try, try, and try again. It’s very likely that you will fail, fail, and fail again. But only you are cognizant of these failures.
Sign up to have my most recent articles sent straight to your email inbox for free 🙂
Zach is the author behind Four Pillar Freedom, a blog that teaches you how to build wealth and gain freedom in life.
Zach's favorite free financial tool he's been using since 2015 to manage his net worth is Personal Capital. Each month he uses their free Investment Checkup tool and Retirement Planner to track his investments and ensure that he's on the fast track to financial freedom.
Although the bulk of his net worth is invested in index funds, his favorite place to invest in individual stocks is M1 Finance, a site that allows you to build a custom portfolio of stocks for free.
His favorite way to save money each month on his recurring bills is by using Trim, a free financial app that negotiates lower cable, internet, and phone bills with any provider on your behalf.
His favorite micro-investing app is Acorns, a free financial app that takes just 5 minutes to set up and allows you to invest your spare change in a diversified portfolio.
His favorite place to find new personal finance articles to read is Collecting Wisdom, a site that collects the best personal finance articles floating around the web on a daily basis.
Full Disclosure: Nothing on this site should ever be considered to be advice, research or an invitation to buy or sell any securities, please see my Terms & Conditions page for a full disclaimer.