Anyone who claims they never failed is a telling a lie. What happened the first time you tried to talk? It sounded like gibberish and nobody understood you. What happened the first time you tried to ride a bike? You fell on the ground, scraped your knee and started crying. What happened the first time you tried to do anything new? You failed miserably! You didn’t almost get it. You didn’t fail a little bit. The first time you tried it ...
You completely, totally and unequivocally failed.
What happened the next time you tried it?
You failed again.
In fact, you failed several times before you even came close to getting it right.
Today you can talk on autopilot. You can have an hour-long conversation with someone and never once think about how to move your lips and tongue to form the word. Or how to move the precise amount of air across your vocal chords to make the right sound.
When you were first learning though, how many times did it take before you got it right? Before you could actually say “Mama” and “Dada” and everyone understood you? Before you got it right, how many times did you get it wrong? How many times did you fail? A hundred? A thousand? A hundred thousand?
Why is that when we become adults, we begin to think of failure as a bad thing? Something we need to avoid at all costs? Adults are smarter than babies aren’t they? When we consider our strategies with respect to failure ...
The more life experience we get, the more stupid we become!
What happens if we buy stock in a company, it goes bankrupt and our investment becomes worthless? What do we do when we apply for a job and they don’t hire us? What’s our reaction when we start a business, run out of money and can’t make the payments on the bank loan? What do we do after we pursue that perfect person, get involved in a relationship and then find out they’re a complete psycho?
Most of us give up. We shut down. We vow to never do it again. Not to never do the wrong thing again, but to stop trying completely.
If the company we invested in goes bankrupt and our stock becomes worthless, we close the brokerage account. If they don’t hire us for the job we want, we settle for our second, third or fiftieth choice. If our business fails and we go into personal bankruptcy, we tell ourselves, “Well, I guess I wasn’t meant to be an entrepreneur.”
If the psycho we live with drains our bank account, maxes out our credit cards and starts sleeping with the neighbor, we get out of the situation, take a self-imposed vow of celibacy and never date again. (If you’re the type of person who doesn’t get out of a situation like this, you have bigger problems than what we can help with.)
If we applied these same Failure Strategies when we were learning to talk, we would still be laying in our crib in complete silence.
Failure is not something anybody consciously sets out to achieve. We don’t focus our concentration on thoughts like, “how can I figure out the most effective way to fail?” We don’t spend thousands of dollars on education or hire expensive advisors so we can come up with plans designed to fail. We want to succeed or at least we think we do.
There’s a big difference between a plan designed to succeed and one designed to not fail. If our primary concern is not failing, more than likely we are going to minimize risks, play it safe and not venture too far from the status quo.
The problem with this approach is that we cut ourselves off from innovation and breakthrough ideas. Don’t misinterpret this and think that planning and research aren’t important. They’re critical pieces of the plan. If we can learn how to not to do something from somebody else’s mistakes, then we’re one step closer to getting it right.
Failure is a critical piece in the process of getting it right.
Every time you fail, you learn how to not do do something. You can use this information to make adjustments and try something different the next time. This will only work if you stop doing the same wrong thing. This is counterintuitive to what society has taught you, but ...
Do Not Fear Failure.
- Stay focused on your objective
- Embrace failure and learn from it
- Do not stop until you get it right