I was watching a trailer for Usher’s Masterclass course and he said that he’s successful because he’s failed much more often than he’s succeeded.
Isn’t that curious?
If I could go back to my younger self, one of the first lessons I would pass on would be that failure is good.
Nowadays, this idea seems obvious because I’ve studied thousands of successful people and seen it as a common theme. In the book Getting There, dozens of successful people explain how they celebrated failure in order to succeed. When the billionaire Sara Blakely was a child, her father asked her how she failed every day at dinner and celebrated it.
But the teen version of myself would’ve been flabbergasted at this idea. It’s not common in Asian American culture. If anything, it’s the opposite. Failure is frowned up and results in bad feelings, including disappointment and outrage from your parents.
Feeling like a failure is ingrained into our culture. It can feel like the world is over just because you failed to become get good grades to become a doctor.
Okay, I’m exaggerating to get a point across — it wasn’t that harsh. But the sad fact is that it is for some of my Asian peers.
Don’t chase success as your only cure for feeling like a failure. What a tragedy it would be for you to have achieved so much in life and still have this dysfunctional self-esteem and lack of self-love because you feel unworthy since there’s someone better and unhappy because you aren’t passionate about your job. There are real people who live like that, ignoring the wins and dwelling on the defeats, and it’s not admirable or enjoyable.
Redefine your values and what you, not someone else, want out of life. What do you admire in a person? How can you live like that? Honesty. Work Ethic. Contribution. For me, that’s success. Choose yours.
Fear of disappointment from parents follow some Asian Americans until death like a dark cloud. It hinders them so much that they sacrifice what their dream life is, something they could’ve achieved, to live a life someone else wants. It’s not a horrible life. But it is a mediocre, desperate one.
Sometimes, you’ll never be able to change others’ opinions of you. And that’s fine. But can you be clear what you want out of yourself? You have one life. Don’t die with regrets and resentment.
Failing is an opportunity to learn from your mistakes, pivot, and make another move that increases your chances of success. This doesn’t always mean that you’ll fail your way to the narrow outcome you’ve always dreamed of. It means that if you’re open to new possibilities and a lifelong learner, you can fail your way to a career and life better in every way possible that you didn’t even dream as a possibility.
Losers let failure discourage them until they quit. And that’s the differentiator between someone successful and someone who is not. How fast they give up.
Never give up.
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