A new look at “failure.”
Learn why you should look forward to it, and how it can help you ultimately get where you want to go.
“There is no such thing as failure”
When you read the quote above, what’s your reaction?
Do you think it’s untrue? Silly glass-half-empty stuff?
What if I told you that only you have the power to decide whether or not something is indeed, a “failure?”
In fact, there are some individuals—highly successful people—who believe the very word “failure” has no place in our vocabulary.
Let’s talk about why.
As a kid, you probably played that game “opposite day.”
You’d play practical jokes on your family and friends and release some passive aggression in the process of claiming “opposite day.”
It was great—you could call the cutest girl in the class “ugly,” and then take it all back by simply exclaiming “opposite day!”
But, the end result is the same; you still would have acknowledged her cuteness.
Well, let’s play the game.
What if today, failure really means success?
How can you acknowledge your success, even as you utter the word “failure”? Well, you can point out:
- everything that was learned in the process of getting to where you are now—surely not everything goes to the scrap heap
- That simply being able to recognize everything hadn’t gone according to plan, or achieved the desired outcome (i.e. “failed”), is in itself a positive outcome
- that the specific path you took this go round, clearly wasn’t the right one and so it has successfully been eliminated and will not be repeated
- that you’ll know to do things differently in the future
- that the experience has enabled you to grow in some way
“Failure” is feedback
“Failure” can simply be a great way to get us to pause in the midst of our process, and get some critical information to indicate that we may need to change direction, try something new, continue our learning, or shift our focus.
Imagine what would happen if we didn’t get that feedback, and continued endlessly along the wrong path, toward the wrong goal, or without ever learning a new approach?
The thought is pretty scary, isn’t it.
Failure then, can really be seen as positive feedback—information that gets us back on the right track!
For, without it, we would surely be lost.
The key then, is to identify it quickly, and change direction, try something new, or shift our focus.
Here are some tips:
- Always have a clear idea of where you want to go and continue to re-evaluate it as you move forward
- Identify specific milestones or markers along the way, to let you know you’re on the right track and celebrate each success
- If something doesn’t appear to be working, or working fast enough, don’t hesitate to try something new
- Continually learn—from others with whom you work, seek out experts, find others who may have traveled down a similar road before
And always remember:
“You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down”
“You NEVER fail until you stop trying”
“If you are not making any mistakes, you’re not really doing anything with your life”