Why Failure is Just Another Word for Success in the Journey of Discovery
And Why it May Be your Best Option!
Failure is a hard pill to swallow.
The word “failure,” when applied to ourselves, is difficult to even say! Yet, haven’t we all heard that our best lessons come from our mistakes? Still, failure seems to imply that there is no recourse. Fold it up, you’re toast! But wait, there’s more to the story.
Creating a Culture of Action
Many successful companies have embraced the concept of failure. It’s paradoxical, as no one wants to fail but success is often a result of multiple failures! What gives?
The reason so many successful companies openly support and even create an environment that encourages failing is that it promotes action, creativity, and even optimism. Any environment that penalizes failure stifles creativity and most importantly, it prohibits taking action, the very thing that causes growth.
Obstacles in life are a given. Overcoming obstacles invariably follows repeated failures.
Being “allowed” to fail, with the learning that comes along with it, creates a sense of optimism. Yet, there are still those who live by the notion that failure is bad.
“Gentlemen… Failure is Not an Option!”
This quote in the movie Apollo 13 became very popular. And it not only grabbed the audience but it conveyed the urgency of the task at hand. In truth, Gene Kranz never actually said it (Hollywood at work again.)
The goal, obviously, is to get to ultimate success. In the case of Apollo 13, this was a single-event success they were after and they needed it immediately. So, the urgency created the need to succeed … NOW. But, what happened before they succeeded? Well, the movie rightly depicted many ways their attempts did not work before they came up with the one that did.
They had to accelerate their failures to get to their ultimate success. What if they’d given up after the first failure or two?
A Clear Objective and Journey
We can deduce that it’s more about how we define the meaning. For those companies I talked about earlier, failure simply represents experiencing ways that did not work. It allows for first hand learning, not theory. It’s simply a journey to an ultimate success.
When you couple the encouragement to fail with a clear objective and time frame, you accelerate the process in proportion to the urgency. Although it wouldn’t have made for as good a line in the show, the more appropriate (and instructive) “call to action” would have been: “Gentlemen … quitting is not an option!”
Quitting is the ultimate failure. If one door closes keep opening windows and doors until you find the path that works. Never quit trying new ways to succeed!
When we understand the power behind the concept we lose our fear of the word. Without the fear, we embrace the habit of repeated actions and benefit from the potential options we produce. And an added bonus is the ability to enjoy the journey too.
What Failing Means to You
Here’s the point I’m trying to make for you. As an entrepreneur and achiever you must stretch yourself if you want to create something worthwhile. If you want to do more you must be more. If you want to be more you must expand beyond the limits that have bound you up in your current limitations.
And no one expands without creative attempts, some of which are destined to fail … at first. And, as I’ve pointed out, the more you fail the better off your end result will be. Remember, it’s a journey of disovery. It’s the journey called life.
Never take these “failures” personally and they won’t define you, they’ll propel you!
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