In a commercial for Honda titled “Failure: The Secret to Success” race driver Danica Patrick talked about her life-threatening crash.
She commented, “There was a crash.. My brain was covering up for the fact this was a bit of a heightened situation…”
Her dispassionate and distancing language is very interesting. There is no tone of “I almost died” or even “I was really scared.” She describes it as an event that “happened” – and it was not “terrifying” etc but rather a “heightened situation” that she was observing.
Being in a “heightened situation” like a crash – or facing a business reversal, or being fired, it is all too easy to get caught up in the intense feelings about it. Like fear and anxiety about the future.
Patrick also comments on fear: “You’re driving your car and you feel frightened a little bit. We bump up against that feeling as much as we can, to try and push that limit further, and get comfortable there, and then push it again. So you’re constantly on the brink of crashing, ’cause that’s the fastest.”
[Source: Honda – the Power of Dreams dreams.honda.com.]
(Photo: Andrew Weber, USA TODAY Sports, from post.)
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In the Steps for Bouncing Back section of the Startupfailures.com site, there are a number of stories of people who do just that – bounce back, such as the entry Reinventing Yourself in the Web 2.0 Economy by Anne Medved:
“I guess you could say that I am a bit of a chameleon. Well, I had to be or risk losing my home after a significant job loss that I frankly was not prepared to face. After some thought, I decided it would be best to go back to school while working various contract jobs until I landed with my feet firmly planted on the ground…
“Most of us really don’t need a guru but can draw upon those creative energies we have but don’t listen to because we are our own worst critics with self-doubt taking over. Well, my advice is to go with your gut feeling about what it is you envision yourself doing.”
Nick Hall, a serial entrepreneur and founder of Startupfailures.com, commented about the attitude toward a setback: “Are you going to see what you have gone through as something to empower you or to limit you? No is temporary, yes is temporary, it’s all temporary.”
He added, the biggest hurdle to bouncing back is “Self-doubt. All of the biggest hurdles are internal.”
[From article Failure Is Part of Success, Businessweek.]
For more perspectives, see the page Failure.
Success, failure and competence are often a matter of other people’s judgments. Oprah Winfrey was fired from her television reporter’s job and told, “You’re not fit for TV.”
From my post Does feeling like a failure mean we are failures?
In her article 10 Steps to Overcome the Impostor Syndrome, Valerie Young advises we “Develop a new response to failure and mistake making.”
She quotes Henry Ford: “Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.”
Image from book Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success, by John C. Maxwell.
“After all these years, I am still involved in the process of self-discovery. It’s better to explore life and make mistakes than to play it safe. Mistakes are part of the dues one pays for a full life.” – Sophia Loren
J.K. Rowling commented in her Commencement Address at Harvard University: “Ultimately, we all have to decide for ourselves what constitutes failure, but the world is quite eager to give you a set of criteria if you let it. So I think it fair to say that by any conventional measure, a mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale…
So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me.”