The moment I decided it was “ok” to fail, I knew I was onto something.
I define success as going from one perceived disappointment, setback, or failure to another without losing your vision for a successful future (in achieving that goal) or enthusiasm for life. The reality is, life is full of ups and downs, joys and disappointments, and the key to living a truly “successful life” is maintaining the proper perspective regarding everything that happens to you. The day that I decided to embrace my past mistakes and failures as key instructional moments that would benefit my future, I began to utilize those treasures as ammunition to guide my footsteps and to launch me forward.
This holds true for business or personal quests, whether it’s overcoming a particular challenge or reaching your full potential in all aspects of life. To manifest your personal best, to reach unparalleled heights, to turn impossibilities into possibilities, you cannot fear failure; you have to welcome it. You have to think big and put high demands on yourself to excel despite setbacks.
When we think of historians with this mindset, we think of those who took great risks-the “highly successful” entrepreneurs, the pioneers, inventors, the daredevils.
They had to embrace failure as a necessary step to help them reach levels of unprecedented success. It’s not necessary to climb Mount Everest or cure polio to employ this mindset in your own life. Embracing past failures or the possibility of future failures are vital keys to winning the mental battles within yourself that often paralyze us; it could be a variety of challenges such as taking a leap of faith to move to a new city, learning to trust another person after being hurt in past relationships, or reinventing yourself by starting a new business.
I believe that success is a journey made up of a series of embarrassing moments, horrible mistakes, and unpleasant learning experiences that we call failures. The word failure seems so negative, but if we take the proper perspective, then the overall experience although a “failure” can have a very positive impact on our lives. All of our past experiences help to develop us: if we learn from them, that is. So, the proper perspective is that all of our past experiences, positive and negative, are helpful to us. They help us to have a greater chance to succeed the next time that we try after a failure.
Would you recognize a helpful experience if it made you feel bad? Disappointed? Embarrassed? Rejected? Growth is painful sometimes. Let’s look at some of the helpful growth tools that have taught me to grow forward in uncomfortable situations by appreciating THE SUCCESS OF FAILURE:
- Failures are not permanent homes, so do not live in them; they are temporary lodging places that prepare you for your next big move. Do not get comfortable in failure! Always have a vision for yourself succeeding beyond the place that you are in.
- Failures are necessary experiences in life, adventures even, on the road to success-they are just a part of the journey. The next time that you miss the mark or experience a setback, just say to yourself, “this is just a part of the journey – this failure is a marker that I’m making progress and I’m that much closer to achieving my goal the next time”, then move forward.
- Failures are powerful tools that teach us life lessons on how to improve ourselves-how to sharpen our skills. By accessing each failure-what the failure was, how it happened, how it could have been prevented, and how we should respond to it to grow from the experience, we come out of failed situations wiser-more capable of achieving our goal the next time that we attempt it. We have a greater chance at success by learning from the past mistakes.
- All “highly successful” people have failed numerous times before they achieved what others considered to be notable success. Thomas Edison attempted thousands of times to invent electricity before he finally succeeded; What if he had just stopped at failure number 5? 25? 125? We may be living in a dark world as a result! The bigger the dream, the greater the risks for success and failure. Don’t be afraid to fail-several times. The more you fail at achieving a goal indicates the level of potential positive impact that your future success will have on the world. “If at first you don’t succeed-keep on trying until you do!” –LB