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Why Failure is Just Another Word for Success in the Journey of Discovery

Critter Wisdom - Why Failure is Just Another Word for Success in the Journey of DiscoveryAnd 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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9 comments on “Why Failure is Just Another Word for Success in the Journey of Discovery

  1. Coach Comeback on said:

    You definitely grabbed my attention with that headline.

    That has been my signature for about a year!

    I have also heard that if you are not failing you are not trying enough things.

    Interesting. Thanks for this one.

  2. Carmelo Bryan on said:

    Don’t you think we ought to have another word for failure? It seems so harsh and has developed such a negative connotation.

    Good to see you here. I appreciate the visit and the comment! Took me a bit to get back to you because of some maintenance issues … oops!

    All the best to you CC. Keep after it!

  3. Untemplater on said:

    We all make mistakes, it’s how we grow and learn new things. Sometimes we are so afraid of failing that we don’t even give ourselves a chance to try something new. I’ve learned that I’d rather do my best and fail then to never try at all!

  4. Carmelo Bryan on said:

    So very true. Every journey has detours and course corrections. The only time we don’t make mistakes is when we stay stationary and don’t do anything at all. Which, of course, is actually the worst mistake of all.

    Fear crops up because we look too far ahead rather than keeping our focus on the present. We always handle things when we’re in the present moment and active.

  5. Great post! In my life I’ve been fortunate to have mentors who taught me to Never Give Up. The hardest moment is often right before victory. One of my favorite quotes by Martin Luther,

  6. Carmelo Bryan on said:

    Hey John, thanks for dropping by! You’re fortunate to have had such great mentors and examples in your life. and that’s an excellent quote. If we quit, we’ll never know if we were just an eyelash away from reaching our victory.

    For me, the victory is in the doing not the result, so why would we every want to quit? We may adjust, alter our direction, invent new ways, etc. Just don’t give up!

  7. Yes, I agree, I think that often the problems we “embrace” are the results of our approach or perspective. Often we’ve been conditioned to categorize obstacles as failure vs. opportunities for growth. Being creatures of habit, we then tend to treat all problems in like manner. Having open discussions such as this gives us another perspective that we might not have received when our conditioning took place from parents, teachers or mentors in the early formation of our lives.

  8. Bryan Thompson on said:

    Hi Carmelo. I will be honest – I’ve failed a lot in my life, but those failures have led to some of the biggest dreams I’ve ever had. In fact, I think often the FEAR of failure is worse than the actual failure itself. If you can beat the fear, you can ALWAYS learn from the failure and be ready for the goal at hand when it gets there.

  9. Carmelo Bryan on said:

    Very will said Bryan. Fear is a funny thing, isn’t it? Mostly imagined I’d say. Too much time spent in the mind as opposed to our inner being and the love that resides there. As you say, the learning is the real “goal” we’re want. After all, why do we pursue goals at all except for the fact it takes us down a path of adventure and learning. Anything we finally reach is always replaced by something else we want to attain or someplace else we want to go. Thank you for commenting! Come back again.

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