Falling down without going into a downward spiral

Making mistakes is a natural part of life; we all experience it. For the perfectionist out there, let me give you a friendly piece of advice: Give yourself a break! It’s unrealistic to think that anyone (including yourself) is perfect and will always make good decisions. 

No one enjoys making mistakes. Mistakes are almost always painful in life. However, it’s the pain that teaches us and grows us. Therefore, mistakes can be a powerful teaching tool.

People tend to fall into one of two categories related to personal failure. First are the people who refuse to take risks to avoid disappointment at all costs. People from this category will never experience the greatest joys or accomplishments, because those only come from taking significant risks.

Don’t let a fear of failure prevent you from taking necessary life risks.

The other category of people tends to own their failures and, if not careful, allow failure to define them. After making some simple mistakes, they get so disappointed with themselves that they give up all hope. This category of person goes into a destructive downward spiral after failure. Don’t allow a personal failure to define your identity and determine your outlook on life.

When handled appropriately, failures are healthy for your future. Instead of allowing our mistakes to defeat us, we should use them as learning opportunities.

Chris VanSant learned to own up to his mistakes in the military.  He knew some powerful lessons that could only be experienced through the pain of failure. These powerful lessons made him one of the most elite and influential warriors in America’s fight against terrorism. Chris learned from failure without going into a destructive downward spiral. 

Developing perspective from the fall 

We can grow and develop into better versions of ourselves. It is essential to find a balance between accepting our mistakes and using them to fuel personal growth.  Chris developed a healthy perspective on himself and his military career by learning and growing through his mistakes.

If you’re going to learn the powerful lessons that only come through painful failures, you need to ask the right questions. Of course, you should ask what went wrong, and why did I fail in the first place? However, the more important question is to ask, what can I learn from this so that I don’t go through a similar circumstance in the future? This question helps you learn from a mistake without letting it destroy your confidence in yourself or your future

Learning from the fall

Mistakes build character.  Admittedly, I don’t like to develop character through errors and failure any more than you do. However, some of those failures are essential to forging the kind of character that can meet the challenges in your future. Chris is an excellent example of what it looks like to fail forward in life.

The essential step that Chris learned after making some mistakes in his military career became the building blocks that enabled him to serve in more demanding roles in the future. It’s accurate to say that Chris wouldn’t have been capable of the most challenging assignments in the military if it weren’t for the lessons he learned from some failures earlier in his military career.

Becoming resilient after a fall

The most important question to ask yourself after a failure is what you can learn from this experience. Success is not just about finding the source of disappointment or preventing it from happening again. It’s about having the resilience to bounce back and become even stronger.  

What matters most after a failure is how to grow stronger because of the experience.  

The crux of the matter lies not in identifying the failure’s root cause or devising strategies to prevent its occurrence in the future. Instead, the ability to recover from the setback and emerge stronger truly counts.  This is what set Chris apart from other warriors in the military. 

Don’t run from risks because of a fear of failure. Don’t let mistakes define you. Don’t let a fall turn into a destructive downward spiral. When you fall, build resilience from the experience, and you will be Unbeatable like Chris VanSant. 

Listen to my whole conversation with Chris HERE.

Further reading

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