Monday, 27 February 2012

Success from Failure

The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure

John C. Maxwell is the author of an excellent book called “Failing Forward”.  I was lucky enough to come across this book about four or five years ago now and have read it about half a dozen times. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular at the time but as soon as I picked this book up I knew it was a book I needed to have.

This book really redefined the way I looked at the words, fail, failure and the likes. It was the first time that the word fail was used not as a negative and something to be embarrassed or ashamed of, but something to embrace as a learning experience on the way to becoming successful.

Thomas Edison once was quoted as saying “I haven’t failed I have just found 10 000 ways that won’t work”. Thomas Edison was able to realize when he had made a mistake or done something that would be regarded as a failure and learn from it and come up with something that does work.

Two good passages from the book sum up the way successful people look at failure.

  • “Don’t waste energy trying to cover up failure. Learn from your failure and go on to the next challenge. It’s ok to fail, if you’re not failing, you’re not growing 
H. Stanley Judd

  • Failure is the hallmark of success. It can be the starting of a new venture,
such as when a baby learns to walk; it has to fall down a lot to learn the new skill. Failure is also the mark of success you’ve worked for. When a pole-vaulter finally misses in competition, it shows how far he’s come. That failure becomes the starting point for his next effort, proving that failure is not final”
Dave Anderson

The great thing you get from this book and the central message to come out is that it’s ok to mess up, make mistakes and its ok to try something and fail. This message is completely the opposite of what we are taught growing up and especially when at school. Instead of being made to feel that we should be fearful of failing, or making mistakes and in turn not being having the confidence to try anything because of that fear of failure, we are instead given the freedom to make mistakes, try something and fail, and have the ability to learn more from our failures than we ever would by tip toeing around and trying not to make a mistake and not trying anything. And God forbid if we did screw up, because then we would feel so bad that rather than own up and learn from the experience we feel we need to cover it up so no one knows it was us, or hopefully no one realizes we’ve failed. So it teaches us that if we mess up, take responsibility, own up, learn and move on, and that out of the experience we can learn to be successful.

In anything we do there is a chance that we are going to fail, whether its in business, a relationship, at school, or university, or anything you attempt, but the important thing to remember is to not be afraid to have a go, if you come up short, learn and get as much as you can from the experience and even more importantly, DON’T GIVE UP! The ability to be successful is in learning from our mistakes and perseverance. NEVER EVER QUIT!

Remember Expect the Best because you Deserve the Best!

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