Last Updated on August 27, 2016 by Michael Brockbank
One of the lessons I try to teach my children is that a true failure is an instance of which you don’t learn from. As long as you gain knowledge from why you failed, you can’t really call it a failure. When you put what you learned into the next attempt, the chances of success are far greater. In fact, this is how a lot of people learn in the first place: through trial and error.
How Your Point of View Affects Overall Success
Human perception is a wondrous thing. Each person can view any situation differently and take away a completely separate experience. What you view as a failure, someone else could see a triumph. The hardest part is understanding the point of view of others. This is what often leads to conflict. But, I’m not here to debate politics or world events.
How you view an end result will directly affect your future attempts. If you don’t learn anything from the experience, you may wind up following the exact same path as before. Take writing, for example. If I didn’t learn how to improve comma usage and the affects of clinical context, I would still be a mediocre ghostwriter on the Textbroker system. Instead, I am level 4 and aiming for that illustrious level 5 spot.
Being too Critical of Yourself
I see a lot of potential authors become overly critical of themselves when their work is rejected. Personally, I had a problem with this as well. It was a long time before I could change how I felt about rejections. My problem is that I thought all of my work was terrible before anyone could reject it. When I deleted those stories, that was a failure on my part. After all, how can anyone not like something they haven’t read?
Being too critical can also directly affect your work. Once you start thinking that people aren’t going to like a story, you’ll subconsciously sabotage it. Although this isn’t always the case, you might be amazed by how often your current frame of mind can affect a task.
No Music at the Pity Party
When you fail at a project, it’s easy to get sucked into feeling sorry for yourself. The trick is to focus on why you failed and fixing those mistakes. In many instances, this may be something simple such as correcting grammar. The novel you wrote may not have enough marketing behind it. The point is, you’ll never understand until you take the time to analyze the situation. If you get stuck in the whole, “woe is me” mindset, you’ll miss an opportunity to learn something valuable that may improve your writing.
Feeling sorry for yourself does only one thing, in my opinion: waste time. Instead of focusing on how to improve, people will focus on the fact that they fail. Instead of saying, “I suck as a writer,” ask yourself, “Why do I suck as a writer?” Be honest with yourself and delve into why the piece didn’t perform as well as you hoped and learn what you can change for next time.
Even Being Prideful Can Be a Failing
When you’re new to writing, whether your a ghostwriter or trying to publish that first novel, you can’t assume ultimate success. I had a friend who gave up after his initial piece to Textbroker was rated at level 3. He thought his work was far better than that and gave up. Because of his pride, he would go on to work as a stock boy instead of exploring his potential as a writer.
Having pride in yourself isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s when it gets in the way of progress that you need to step back. Because my friend had so much pride in his initial entry, he let his anger and frustration ruin what could have been a great career.
Changing Your Views of Failure
Thomas Edison found 1,000 ways of how not to make a light bulb before he found success. What you should take from this is that you can discover many ways not to write content until you discover your niche. Instead of taking offense to criticism, look for kernels of truth. It will help you fine-tune your skills over time. As these skills increase, clients and fans will come to you in droves.
The only true failure is a mistake you refuse to learn from. All other situations work to benefit understanding of yourself as well as your work. This is true in any circumstance, and not just writing. If you’re passionate about being a ghostwriter or an author, understand that no one experiences ultimate success the first time around. Take time to analyze your materials and find out why that particular piece wasn’t successful. It will be pivotal in your future.
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