There is so much being written and discussed about failure these days and I find it very conflicting, so I thought I’d chime in with hopes of adding a little ThriveLife perspective to the topic.
There are those who think failure is a good thing and a great learning opportunity, they say, “Fail hard and often – it’s a good thing” or “If you are not failing, you are not trying hard enough.” Those who think failure is overrated as an educational tool – [paraphrased from a Peter Thiel interview] “..we often look at failure as the one thing that didn’t go right, however, it is often the case that something failed for reasons 1 through 5 but only reason number 1 is examined as to the cause of failure. Because of this, on your next project, you fail for reason number 2 etc. so people miss the point and lesson of failure.”
Where do I stand on this subject? You all know I’m a great advocate of risk taking, so you know I have an opinion about failure!
Failure is an end game and I just don’t see things that way. Failure to me does not exist unless you name it as such and call an end to your attempts or given goal. I’ve done many things that didn’t workout the way I thought they would or should, but they always worked out another way. Is that failure? To me, I don’t count that as failure. I have tried things that didn’t move me forward, and then found I was re-directed to another path that was a better fit for me. In the end, I still was moving, maybe a little cha-cha for a bit, but then a side slide and moved another step and wa la! Again, if I called it a failure, at which point would the failure have occurred? If I didn’t stop working out other routes to the desired result was my time and work to that point failure? If I don’t stop, simply change course, is that failure or just recalculating? If one way doesn’t work then that is not a failure in my opinion it is the knowledge needed to try a different way.
I’m not trying to get all sunshine and no rain on you. It rains, it sure does, and even sometimes it downpours – but is that bad? As my mentor Tony Robbins says, “things only have the meaning we give them”. Sometimes the rain gives you some new information that you need to change course or time to evaluate what is going on. Once the storm passes maybe things look a little different and you find a different path appears.
Until you decide the journey is over, keep moving – sometimes it will be forward, sometimes backwards or sideways – but keep moving. A GPS cannot redirect you if you never put the car in drive because you are too afraid to get lost or fail. You only fail by not attempting or by quitting, until then it’s just more information about what does and does not work for you or to reach your given goal.
So go out there and put you life in drive!