Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.
— Denis Waitley
I guess this time had to come but I guess I had hoped it wouldn’t happen this quickly. I failed yesterday in my “Wakeup at 7am Everyday Challenge“.
I did “wake up” at 7, only to remain in bed and inevitably fall back asleep. I didn’t wake up until 10am!
So I guess the question becomes: what do I do now? Do I restart the challenge? Do I add another day to the end of the challenge? Do I pretend like nothing happened? For now I am going to simply add another day to the end of my challenge.
My challenge initially started on April 7 and was scheduled to go until May 7. Now, it’s going to May 8th!
We will have to reassess this if I fail again, but for now I’m just going to get back on the horse. I woke up at 7am today and feel great! But all of this begs the question – what should we do when we experience failure?
Where Do We Go After a Failure?
The one thing this brings up for me is: what do we do when we fail? Not just when we fail a 30 day challenge, but when we fail anything. In my view, there are four main ways of reacting to a failure. You can:
- Quit Entirely
- Be Overly Hard on Yourself
- Make the Necessary Adjustments
- Pretend Like Nothing Happened
It may seem obvious to everyone that “Make Necessary Adjustments” is by far the best course of action, yet over the years it has probably been my least likely reaction to failure.
My two main ways of dealing with failure have always been to quit entirely or to beat myself up mentally, and I often used them in combination with each other. I believe this approach to failure is what ultimately has caused me to struggle with implementing habits and establishing consistency throughout my life.
Because of this struggle to react to failure in a positive way, I’m going to use this opportunity to establish a new way of dealing with it.
Instead of beating myself up, I’m just accepting that I overslept. It happened, there’s nothing we can do about it now!
Instead of quitting altogether, I’m simply going to evaluate what went wrong and then improve on that going forward. (What went wrong was that I only got around 6 hours of sleep the previous two nights because I was not getting to bed on time. Go figure!)
Instead of letting this one failure lead to a slippery slope of failures, I’m going to double down on my commitment to this challenge. I WILL wake up at 7am every day and establish the sleep schedule I’ve always wanted.
Let’s change the way we look at and react to failures.