The Psychology of Failure

28 Jun

Today I want to talk about something that nobody really wants to talk about: failure.

If you’re looking for some inspiration quotes, some clichés to soften the blow, then read another blog. There’s not going to be any rose-coloured glasses handed out to sugar-coat the issue, just the simple fact that failure sucks.

When you fail, you’ve got two choices – quit, or try harder. That’s it. That’s all. It’s not complicated at all.

Unpublished writers don’t have any way to judge how close they are to success, if maybe this next revision will be the one that works. There aren’t any statistics to measure how far you’ve come, how far you’ve got left to go, or how many more plateaus are left to conquer. And the more time you invest in something, the harder it is to quit.

So what has failure done for me? It’s shoved me out of my comfort zones, dragged me over multiple plateaus, and brought my writing up to a higher level.

Better? Yes. Good enough? We’ll see.

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10 Responses to “The Psychology of Failure”

  1. Matthew June 28, 2012 at 7:40 PM #

    Great post, and entirely too true.

    Failures test us more than successes ever will do.

    • J D Waye June 28, 2012 at 8:25 PM #

      Thanks for commenting, Matthew. Failure can be a learning tool, if you have the right people to let you know what you’re doing wrong.

  2. Marianne Su June 28, 2012 at 8:04 PM #

    Maybel I’m a forever optimist but I don’t like the word “failure”. It’s final, decisive and judgemental. Sure setbacks happen and we can’t always achieve goals on our own timetable. And yes, this is hard to swallow but we keep going because we love writing. Bottom line. You should absolutely keep going. Climb up to your new plateau and reach higher.

    • J D Waye June 28, 2012 at 8:22 PM #

      Hey Marianne, thanks for dropping by. I would have quit by now if I couldn’t handle the failure part LOL.

  3. T. James June 29, 2012 at 6:49 AM #

    Facing failure head on, and kicking it where it hurts when it gets too close, is a sign of maturity, inner strength, courage and gutsy-ness. Well done, you.

    Lacking most of those character traits myself, I have found another way to deal with failure: I simply choose to redefine my criteria for success – if in doubt, move the goal posts. 😉

    • J D Waye June 29, 2012 at 12:36 PM #

      Or it’s a sign of Irish stubborness LOL. Whatever gets the job done, aye TJ?

  4. Anne Michaud June 29, 2012 at 7:13 AM #

    The scary truth about failure is that if you don’t quit, success might be right around the corner. Fate sucks, in that way;)

    • J D Waye June 29, 2012 at 12:35 PM #

      Fate sucks! I’m going to write a song about that, to the tune of “Love Stinks” LOL.

  5. Gareth June 29, 2012 at 4:12 PM #

    To be honest if anything worth having was easy there wouldn’t be a challenge. Finding you niche and then working on what you can to improve your skills is the key. If you’re going to quit then you weren’t that passionate about it in the first place.

    As usual a solid post JD and definitely though provoking.

  6. Chrissey Harrison June 29, 2012 at 7:57 PM #

    I don’t believe in failures, I call them setbacks! I figure, unless there is a time limit to achieving your goal, you can’t technically fail. Of course, how you react to and deal with setbacks determines whether you’ll get there in the end or not. Good post, I’m all for removing the sugar coating.

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