Talk to any successful person about the things that changed their lives for the better, and I’ll wager in most cases, the things that changed their lives were major failure they overcame.
The ability to deal with failure is an essential requirement for success.
I can’t imagine a life that didn’t involve overcoming failure. Everything I have done has basically involved taking a course of action and pushing it until I failed to go any further. I would either get smarter and succeed, or I would learn enough that I could see that I didn’t have the resources to succeed in a time frame that was useful.
Failure is the mechanism that lets us know what the limits of our ability are in some area. Failure isn’t shameful, unless you were raised to think that being right was more important than achieving anything worthwhile.
There are careers like engineering design, programming, and marketing which are basically processes for overcoming one failure after another. If you are creating or doing something new, it is almost axiomatic that you will take more than one try to get it right.
The only occupations where failure is not expected is where you are replacing a machine, as in turning out french fries at a fast food restaurant, or wiping off cars at a car wash.
That’s why I snorted when I read Ana’s account of a 2-day leadership seminar at her workplace which ground to a stop when she brought up the issue of failure.
The seminar had already discussed failure in terms of OTHER people having a problem admitting failure. But when she tried to talk about the possibility of the people in the room having to deal with failure at some point during their careers, everyone looked at her like she was mad.
She had merely asked the lunchtime speaker: Have you ever failed along the way? How do you deal with failure?
The room got very quiet as if she’d said a bad word and basically no one wanted to talk about it. Read the full post. It is quite thought-provoking.
My take on it was simple. The fact that the speaker was unable to confront the subject spoke worlds about his lack of qualifications. When people are willing to discuss only best-case scenarios, it sends a strong signal that they have little experience of real value. They are unable to deal with failure and essentially run away from it and any mention of it.
We won’t discuss those who brandish their failures as evidence that society has given them a raw deal. These are victims using their failures to punish others. We won’t even go there.
Dealing with failure is what life is all about.
Learn from your failures and go on. Your failures are a sign that you tried something that required information or resources that you didn’t have. Better preparation might have avoided the failure, but the big thing to remember is you can learn from your failures. After experiencing enough failure and surviving, you become almost invincible. 🙂
If you develop the right frame of mind, failure is just another obstacle to anticipate and overcome. When that happens, you may find those "insurmountable barriers" melting away before your headlong charge, while others are holding themselves back so as to avoid any possibility of failure.
The risk of possible failure is enough to stop many people from ever using their full potentialities. Don’t be one of these people. Plan for success and do enough preparation to minimize the risk of failure. Have a Plan B in mind in case Plan A doesn’t work out. If A and B don’t work out, learn from that, regroup and continue on.
I’m not saying it is easy to overcome failure, only that it is absolutely necessary for you to do so.
I would appreciate your observations on this.