3 Principles To Embrace For When You Fail Hard

It wasn’t a Nigerian prince.

But, it was basically a Nigerian prince.

Yep, I pulled a stupid. Apparently, everyone does. Here are three principles I’m (poorly) holding onto in the aftermath of getting caught with my pants down.

One Mistake Doesn’t Equal An Aptitude For Failure

I screwed up in a narrowly unique and categorical manner. It’s not like I gathered up my efforts, investments, talents, giftings, and personal quirks, and burned them all to ash in an all-encompassing, life-altering bonfire.

One failure has the potential to be the wet blanket on everything, but only if we allow it. It can be easy to fall into the trap of all or nothing thinking, tainting the past and falsely reasoning a habit of failure out of a single failed action.

Keep the organizers in your mind, and know where your failure belongs, and where it doesn’t. One mistake doesn’t equal an aptitude for failure.

I’ve Made Stupid Mistakes Before

Believe it or not, this isn’t my first rodeo in which I played the bumbling clown. I’ve done plenty of things before that I now look back upon, shaking my head and palming my face.

The days after a fresh blunder is an ideal time to reflect on such past failures, not for dwelling in shame and regret, but to cling to the memories as reminders of the ability to survive.

The temptation is to exaggerate a single mistake and then kitchen-aid your brain like it’s an oversized dough ball with dismal expectations and anxious conclusions. If we can remember the times in the past when we’ve screwed up and everything has turned out all right (or maybe even better), we can find peace and hope with our freshest wounds.

I Have The Power To Forgive Myself And Move On

“Stop thinking about it,” my wife, Lindsey, said.

“I can’t,” I mumbled back.

“Why not? It’s a choice.”

The thick film of depression had slathered my eyeballs while my body sunk into lethargy. When I walked, I didn’t pick up my legs; when I smiled, it was forced. I felt stupid, ashamed, embarrassed, and my depression grew like weeds in the fertile soil of self-hatred and misery.

It’s a foreign concept to me; I don’t have to mull over my mistakes like they’re an unyielding bite of celery. I have a choice to forgive myself, move on, and let go. It won’t be easy, especially for those of us who have made habits of gloom, but it is possible.

Thinking something to death after it’s already done and dead is pointless. After the failing matter, there is nothing more you can do, except to stop the bleeding, learn from your mistake, and just keep going.


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