Both failure and success in your life originate from within. What you are, what you become, ultimately boils down to choice, not chance.
Take a look back at your life up until now. You will probably see a sequence of events, that “just happened”, seemingly outside of your control, culminating to where you ended up today.
If you look at it in another way, you might see a collection of decisions. Your decisions, your own choices.
Most people like to believe everyone is the product of their circumstances, upbringing, or environment. It’s an easy justification for everything. You’re poor and lost because you grew up in the hood, or you’re successful because your parents were rich.
Circumstances don’t make decisions for you. They only make certain choices easier or harder.
Live & Learn
While you are looking back, pick out the key moments. Victories and defeats. Everybody has both.
- You should blame yourself for your failures.
- You should credit yourself for your accomplishments.
Most people do only one. Some focus on every misstep, while ignoring success and the good outcomes of their effort. Others sweep mistakes under the rug, while over-celebrating victories.
To live an honest and balanced life, you have to treat both failure and success with the same attention and consideration. You can’t ignore either.
Your mistakes are your fault
A mistake is a bad choice. Nothing more. You had two forks in the road, and you chose the wrong path.
You can argue that the wrong choice looked more appealing, that you were too tired, that the right choice looked like too much work.
It’s easy to blame someone else, your circumstances or any external source for your failures, but you’re only hiding the root of any mistake: a choice made wrong.
Even though you are always affected by circumstances, your ability to choose never goes away. Hard circumstances make your choice harder, but don’t prevent you from making the right decision at the right time.
Failure is a lesson
When you blame someone or something else than yourself for failure, you miss the opportunity to learn from it. Since you believe it was out of your control, you believe that there isn’t anything you could have done differently.
Until you accept your role in things going bad, you will not learn. You will repeat the same patterns of failure. If you can’t recognize that you made the wrong choice, how will you make the right one next time?
Your accomplishments are also yours
Some successful people say they’re lucky. They aren’t.
“Luck” as a reason for success is what you appear to see, because you can’t see the years of preparation, and systematic hard work. An overnight success, victory coming out of nowhere is nearly always several years in the making.
When you do something right, it’s even more important to take credit. It didn’t “just happen”. You rose up to the occasion, and made the right choice.
If you don’t take notice of your success, you reduce days of hard work, learning, pushing yourself to nothing.
Will all the risks you took, the courage you displayed feel worth it if you think about success as external? I don’t think so.
Would you do the work again if something good “just happened”? I don’t think so either.
If you don’t accept your failures as your own, you will not learn from them. If you don’t accept your successes as your own, you will not reproduce them.
If you ignore both, you will stagnate or regress.
Growth is a product of acceptance. You have to accept both the good and the bad. Take it personally.
Ban “It wasn’t my fault” from your vocabulary. Own up to your mistakes, and stand taller on your successes.